Kaine Urges Bipartisan Support for Supplemental Funding Package to Address the Child Care Crisis
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement regarding the draft domestic supplemental funding legislation that was unveiled this afternoon and includes robust funding to address the child care crisis. The proposed legislation comes shortly after the expiration of child care funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) that helped child care providers keep their doors open and a new report by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission that found that child care is unaffordable for the majority of Virginia families. Specifically, the legislation would replenish for a full year the ARP child care program that expired on September 30.
“The child care crisis is a five alarm fire that is holding our families and economy back. I continue to hear from parents across Virginia about how difficult it is to find high-quality, affordable child care, and from providers about how their wages make it hard for them to stay in the industry. If we want to build on our economic progress—particularly at a time when unemployment is low and companies are struggling to hire enough workers—we have to address this issue head on so parents can enter the workforce. For the sake of our families and our economy, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in getting this legislation across the finish line as quickly as possible.”
While the Senate works in a bipartisan way to pass government funding bills for Fiscal Year 2024, in accordance with spending levels that were agreed upon earlier this year by the White House and Democratic and Republican leadership in Congress, the domestic supplemental package would ensure that Congress can allocate the resources needed to respond to urgent issues impacting Americans and our economy.
Kaine has long championed efforts to expand access to affordable child care, address shortages of early childhood educators, and support child care providers. He introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act to help families afford high-quality child care, cap child care costs at no more than 7% of a family’s income, and raise wages for providers. He introduced the Child Care Stabilization Act to extend vital child care funding that was included in the American Rescue Plan Act to help ensure providers can stay open. Earlier this year, he also cosponsored bipartisan legislation to address shortages of child care and early childhood educators by developing, administering, and evaluating early childhood education apprenticeships.
In addition to $16 billion funding for child care, the domestic supplemental also includes $6 billion to expand access to broadband through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP helps low-income Americans access internet service, which plays a crucial role in peoples’ ability to access work, school, health care, and other services. Last week, Kaine urged congressional leadership to extend funding for ACP, which is set to run out in a few months.