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Heinrich, Luján Introduce Bill to Extend Vital Child Care Funding

WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chair of the HELP Committee, to introduce the Child Care Stabilization Act.
 “We cannot afford to go backwards on our efforts to expand child care access in New Mexico. Access to quality, affordable child care is vital to the health and economic well-being of families,” said Heinrich. “This legislation is a critical step in the right direction, as we work to build out early childhood infrastructure, recruit and train an early childhood educator workforce, and provide all of our child careworkers the wages and benefits they deserve for the essential services they provide.” 
"Affordable, accessible child care is a critical lifeline for working families in New Mexico and across the country. Congressional Democrats passed $24 billion for child care stabilization, and now Congress must ensure that this funding doesn't run out," said Luján. "I'm proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Child Care StabilizationAct to provide robust funding for this successful program. It's the right thing to do to support our children and families." 
When the pandemic pushed the already-fragile child care sector to the brink of collapse, Democrats in Congress responded by delivering historic federal investments to save the sector and prevent families from losing their child care spots – including $24 billion in child care stabilization funding.
That funding has made an enormous difference for families across the country – keeping 220,000 childcare providers afloat over the last few years and saving child care slots for up to 10 million kids nationwide. However, this stabilization funding is set to run out on September 30, 2023, threatening to once again push the sector to the brink, with dire consequences for families and our nation’s economy.
Unless action is taken to extend funding for the child care sector, families, providers, and the entire U.S. economy will feel the consequences – with fewer families able to find and afford the child care they need to go to work and thrive.
The Child Care Stabilization Act would prevent this potential crisis when funding expires at the end of the month by providing $16 billion in mandatory funding each year for the next five years to continue the successful Child Care Stabilization Grant program. This investment would ensure child care providers continue to receive a stable and reliable source of funding to help them deliver high-quality and affordablechild care for working families across the country. 
Additional Background:  
Last Thursday, the Joint Economic Committee Democrats under the leadership of Chair Heinrich, released an issue brief titled “Sustained Child Care Funding Is Critical to Support Families and the U.S. Economy.”The report found that while recent public investments have been transformational for the industry, sustained funding is critical. 
A separate analysis from The Century Foundation finds that if Congress does not provide additional funding for the nation’s child care sector, more than 70,000 child care programs – one-third of those supported by stabilization funding – could close, causing approximately 3.2 million children to lose their child care spots and jeopardizing jobs for 232,000 child care workers. The loss in tax and business revenue could cost states $10.6 billion in economic activity per year. Additionally, millions of parents will likely leave the workforce or reduce their hours, which could cost families an estimated $9 billion each year in lost earnings.
In August, Heinrich and Luján joined a bicameral group of colleagues in calling on President Joe Biden to support needed funding to prevent a national wave of child care closures.
In July, Heinrich sent a letter to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell urging caution around additional monetary tightening in light of current economic developments, including the looming funding cliff for the Child Care Stabilization Grants.
The Child Care Stabilization Act is endorsed by: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), ZERO TO THREE, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Children’s Defense Fund, Save the Children, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Association for Family Child Care, Child Carefor Every Family Network, Family Values at Work, Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, MomsRising/MamasConPoder, Oxfam America, All Our Kin, Community Change Action, Prevent ChildAbuse America, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, Small Business Majority, First Focus Campaign for Children, Parents Together Action, Prevent ChildAbuse America, United Parent Leaders Action Network (UPLAN), YWCA-USA.

Read the one pager on the bill, HERE.
Read the full legislative text, HERE