As the reconciliation bill is fought over, several prominent groups are weighing in support of a major expansion of child care as part of the final reconciliation. In the past two weeks, more than 120 economists, forty-five business leaders, and 100 House members have called on Congress to include the robust child care expansion that was included in the House Education and Labor Committee’s part of the reconciliation.
On September 22, 2021, over forty-five business leaders sent a letter to all members of Congress calling for increases in child care as part of an economic strategy. The ReadyNation CEO Task Force on Early Childhood called on Congress “to act decisively now to address one of the biggest barriers to economic recovery and growth: lack of affordable, quality child care.”
The group that includes business leaders from companies such as Pizza Hut, ReMax, and Xerox outlined several provisions in the developing reconciliation bill, including:
• Provide direct grants to child care providers to increase capacity, improve quality, and expand child care options in areas where care is currently unavailable – including for parents who work shifts with non-traditional hours and on the weekends.
• Increase direct subsidies for low-income working parents in the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) can select the type of care that is best for them and their children.
• Make permanent the expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), which will help parents afford care by setting aside pre-tax income for costs.
The group of economists and scholars said in an open letter, “We, the undersigned, agree that long-overdue, comprehensive investments in affordable, quality child care must be a part of any major economic legislation. For decades, American families and economic growth have been held back by the lack of modern care infrastructure, as working families have been forced to choose between work and caregiving, hampering female labor force participation and reducing productivity. Congress must seize this opportunity to finally support families and unleash economic growth.”
They also addressed how: child care impacts maternal workforce participation – constraining economic growth; how Unaffordable child care costs constrain American families; why comprehensive investments in quality early learning are needed; and how investment in child care is 50 years overdue, referencing the 1971 veto of a major child care expansion by President Richard Nixon. The group includes economists and social policy scholars from a range of universities and organizations.
The 100 members of the House of Representatives called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) to support child care expansions included in the previous week’s committee work:
“Last week, the House Committee on Education and Labor passed the necessary investment in child care that reflects the scale and scope of support that American families need. Specifically, the Committee’s vote to ensure that no family pays more than 7 percent of its household income on care for young children recognizes the economic benefits of protecting our economy from the financial instability and workforce reduction caused by unaffordable child care. We urge you to preserve this provision in the final passage of this bill.”