On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, the House Education and Labor Committee held a virtual briefing on the impact of COVID-19 on America’s Child Care System. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the child care sector with over half of child care providers having closed and as many as 4.5 million child care slots could be lost permanently without additional support stated Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA).

With the House back, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Child Care is Essential Act that would provide $50 billion in child care funding as part of the fifth or next COVID-19 bill. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) is expected to introduce a Senate companion bill this week when the Senate returns.

Before the Senate left for Memorial Day, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) offered a resolution in the Senate calling for the next COVID-19 relief package to include $25 billion in assistance for the child care industry. In a statement, they said that “extended closures have forced nearly half of child care providers to close their doors, and those still operating or seeking to reopen will have to operate on financial losses for months to come as a result of new social distancing requirements and low enrollment as parents slowly return to work. The devastating impact of these realities cannot be sustained without direct federal investments that ensure child care providers can keep their doors open to meet the needs of working families.”

In early March and again in April, CWLA signed onto a child care coalition letter that praised Congress for an initial $3.5 billion in pandemic funding but said, “Because child care is a $99 billion industry, much larger and ongoing investments will be needed to preserve the child care system so that it works for children, families, educators, businesses, and our nation’s economy. Child care’s essential status demands dedicated relief that acknowledges the unique needs of a system that was already teetering on the edge of financial viability before this pandemic. Specifically, we request that Congress provide at least $50 billion in total funding dedicated to child care to offer immediate relief to providers, educators, and families during this crisis.”