WASHINGTON — The House today passed H.R. 7027, the Child Care is Essential Act, urgently-needed legislation to immediately address the problems child care providers have in staying open and covering their increased operating costs with limited revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the child care sector. At the height of the pandemic, more than half of child care providers – many of them women- and minority-owned small businesses operating on razor thin margins – closed their doors. We risk losing more, permanently,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey. “The Child Care is Essential Act would stabilize the child care sector and support providers to reopen and operate. It also would provide needed relief to protect child care workers, support working families, and improve the safety of child care facilities.”
“Without child care, parents cannot return to work, business cannot reopen, and young children cannot access invaluable early learning opportunities. But at this moment our child care industry stands on the brink of collapse,” said House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03). “The Child Care is Essential Act would help save the child care system, which is critical for working families, our economy, and the healthy development of our nation’s children.”
“If we cannot make families feel confident that their kids are going to be in a safe and secure environment, we are not going to get our economy back on track,” said House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Chair Rosa DeLauro. “More than half of child care programs could close if we do not act quickly. The Child Care is Essential Act provides grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the sector and support providers so they can be safely reopening and running. Passage of this critical legislation represents a bold step to meet this historic moment for women, for families, for children, for these small businesses, for communities of color. We must stabilize the child care sector. Child care is essential.”
The Child Care Is Essential Act creates a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund to provide grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector and support providers to safely reopen and operate. These grants would help providers and working families by:
- Ensuring that the grants adequately support providers’ operating expenses and funding gets to them quickly;
- Requiring that providers continue to pay their staff at the same compensation level as pre-COVID-19;
- Providing tuition and copayment relief for working families;
- Promoting health and safety through compliance with public health guidance;
- Prioritizing providers that serve underserved populations;
- Ensuring grants are awarded equitably across child care settings; and
- Conducting oversight through robust reporting requirements.
The Child Care is Essential Act is complemented by H.R. 7327, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, which is expected to pass the House today.
A fact sheet on the Child Care is Essential Act is here.
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