On November 8, 2023, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Patty Murray highlighted the need for additional funding for child care during a hearing on the President’s supplemental funding requests for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
In her opening remarks, Senator Murray underscored how the growing child care crisis is hurting families and having ripple effects in local economies across the country. She noted that child care is a top concern for families and a top economic challenge, and Congress must act on the President’s supplemental funding request to extend vital stabilization funds that have been a lifeline for families and our economy over the last few years—but expired on September 30. She asked Secretary Becerra about what’s at risk if Congress fails to provide additional funding. In response, he said:
“If we don’t have those stabilization funds, we destabilize not just families across America but our economy. Because there will be people who have to leave the workforce, because they’ll have to stay home to care for their kids.. It would be devastating. There is no doubt that Americans would lose not only income, but opportunities for their kids. And we would lose a lot of small businesses in America.”
Senator Murray emphasized that the child care crisis is a problem hurting families and businesses in every part of the country and one that Congress must take additional action with supplemental funding to address.
Chairwoman Murray was not the only one to draw attention to child care last week. Senators Kaine (D-VA), Smith (D-MN), Warren (D-MA), and Casey (D-PA), along with U.S. Representatives Bonamici (D-OR), Jacobs (D-CA), Sherrill (D-NJ), and Castro (D-TX), led a bicameral group of their colleagues in urging congressional leadership to renew expired funding for child care in any supplemental funding package. 48 Senators and 153 Representatives signed these letters.