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Lowey Statement to Rules Committee on Child Care for Economic Recovery Act

WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey today delivered the following remarks to the House Rules Committee in support of an appropriate rule for the House to consider H.R. 7327, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, legislation to expand the availability of quality child care, help workers return to their jobs when it is safe, and enable America’s economy to recover from the COVID-19 recession.

I am proud to present H.R. 7327, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act. Our country was already in short supply of affordable, quality child care before the pandemic.

Now more than half of child care programs have closed due to COVID-19.

Our bill responds to the heightened urgency of the child care crisis by providing critical relief to working families, child care providers, and essential workers. In addition, it includes long overdue funding for child care infrastructure and offers incentives for employers to provide child care assistance.

Child care facilities significantly impact the quality of care, and we know quality child care makes all the difference.

The bill includes $10 billion in infrastructure grants to states to make long-overdue facility repairs, as well as quickly adapt spaces for social distancing and other safety protocols to mitigate the risk of coronavirus transmission.

To support our heroes, we have included $850 million in Social Services Block Grant funding to reimburse dependent care obtained by essential workers who have cared for our communities throughout the pandemic.

In addition, for the first time in more than a decade, this bill would increase guaranteed child care funding to states. By lifting funding from $2.9 billion to $10 billion a year for the next five years, more hardworking families will be able find affordable, quality care.

Congress took an important step by providing $3.5 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants, as well as $750 million for Head Start, in the CARES Act. The House-passed Heroes Act would build on that with an additional $7 billion for CCDBG, and we must do more to respond to the scale of need.  That’s why this bill is so necessary to hardworking families nationwide.

The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act supports work, reduces disparities in child care accessibility and the education opportunity gap, and gives our communities needed stability in this time of unprecedented challenges.

What’s good for our babies is good for our budget. If parents don’t have the basic assurance that their child is safe when they’re out of the home, they simply cannot return to their jobs. Our economic recovery depends on the full recovery of the child care sector. 

Thank you and I yield back.

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