@EdLaborGOP is Working to Expand Child Care Access
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 28, 2021
A strong child care system stimulates the economy by allowing both working parents and job creators to thrive.
Unfortunately, red tape in the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan (ARP) prevents states from spending on measures that will meaningfully improve the quality and quantity of child care by restricting investments in the long-term sustainability of the child care industry and denying assistance to new providers and employers seeking to enter the system.
Education and Labor Committee Republicans are stepping up with proposals to solve this disconnect between federal policies and families’ needs.
Problem: States need greater flexibility to use ARP's one-time funding to help new and existing providers modify their facilities to meet the outsized demand for safe child care.
Republican Solution: Our proposal will allow states to use ARP funds to improve and increase the availability of safe child care facilities, especially in rural areas. Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN), sponsor of the bill, said the following:
“As a working mom of two young girls, I understand the importance of child care, especially for engaging more women in the workforce. This legislation provides greater flexibility to states to improve child care options, which will be of particular benefit in rural areas. I am proud to lead this important bill and to work alongside Ranking Member Foxx and Ranking Member Brady in developing a child care initiative that is responsible and common-sense.”
Problem: Most funds in the ARP child care stabilization grants may not be used to support Family Child Care Networks (FCCN) to strengthen small, home-based child care options for working families, especially in rural areas.
Republican Solution: States can use unobligated funds to establish and expand FCCNs that offer start-up resources for new child care providers, as well as business support, professional development, and technical assistance to providers seeking to improve their services. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), sponsor of the bill, said the following:
“North Country working families greatly depend on child care providers while they earn a living, yet many of our communities do not have enough options for child care. The American Rescue Plan did not address this growing problem, failing to invest in long-term solutions that would increase the quantity of child care businesses, especially in rural communities. My legislation offers a proven solution by allowing states to invest in Family Child Care Networks that can create new child care providers and enhance the viability of these incredibly important small businesses in our local communities.”
Problem: Businesses need employees to have access to reliable child care, but often find it difficult to offer child care services due to a lack of resources.
Republican Solution: Our proposal offers subgrants to employers to aid opening or expanding child care programs, or establishing partnerships with child care providers, to meet working parents’ needs. Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA), sponsor of the bill, said the following:
“More than 2 million women have left the workforce since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially as our economy reopens and kids get back into the classroom, it’s critical that we support working parents. By helping businesses that choose to provide child care options, more parents will have the opportunity to get back to work full-time.”
Problem: The federal government allocated more funding for child care this year than any year prior but has not required sufficient oversight or accountability to allow for transparency or ensure the integrity of this new funding.
Republican Solution: To ensure taxpayer funds are spent responsibly, our proposal requires the Department of Health and Human Services use a portion of the federal administrative funds in the ARP to monitor states’ spending of child care funds and provide a report to Congress, offering much-needed transparency to the public. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), sponsor of the bill, said the following:
“Child care services are too important to our working families to not have adequate oversight. Transparency is key to making sure our children are well taken care of. We must ensure that taxpayer funds are spent appropriately and used as they are intended.”