“At a moment when Americans are struggling just to get by amid the worst inflation in decades, the Senate is moving forward with a reconciliation framework that excludes any investment to address the largest financial burden facing millions of families: childcare. America’s early learning system, which was already failing to meet the needs of families and providers before the pandemic, is currently being propped up by federal relief funding that will soon expire, putting the future of our nation’s childcare in jeopardy. Any reconciliation package that comes before Congress for a vote must include significant, sustained funding to prevent the collapse of our childcare and early learning system and make quality care options available and affordable for more families.
“For the past two years, there has been clear acknowledgement from lawmakers and voters alike that Congress must invest in building a system of early learning and care that meets the needs of families, young children, and the providers they rely on. President Biden and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate touted early learning and care as foundational to supporting America’s workforce and in turn our nation’s economic recovery and long-term success, which was backed up by a proposed transformational investment in childcare, pre-K, and Head Start in the Build Back Better Act. It is unimaginable, then, that the Senate would move forward with a package that does not include a single penny to ensure childcare is available and accessible in every zip code across the country. Women, in particular, will bear the burden of Congress’s inaction, preventing countless moms from pursuing economic security—let alone economic success.
“Indeed, failure to include childcare investments in reconciliation will not only be a missed opportunity to immediately lower costs for families; it pushes the nation’s early learning system closer to a catastrophic funding cliff that will affect America’s entire economy, resulting in higher prices and longer waitlists for families and reduced access to quality care for children, while lower wages push more early educators out of the field.
“There is no doubt that lawmakers understand that the positive impact of investing in early learning and care would be felt for generations. So too will the consequences of inaction. As congressional leaders turn this framework into a legislative package, they must add back in a meaningful portion of the original childcare and early learning funding that was eliminated, and come together through any means possible to provide the substantive investments that are desperately needed.”
Organizations: America Forward, Bank Street Education Center, CareForAllChildren, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Child Care Aware of America, Council for a Strong America (CSA), Early Care and Education Consortium (ECE), Early Learning Ventures (ELV), Educare Learning Network, First Five Years Fund (FFYF), First Focus Campaign for Children, Futures without Violence, Imaginable Futures, Jumpstart for Young Children, LEGO Systems, Inc., Main Street Alliance (MSA), MomsRising, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), National Head Start Association (NHSA), National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Save the Children, Save the Children Action Network, Start Early, the Century Foundation, YWCA USA, ZERO TO THREE