Bipartisan Path Forward For Year-End Package Lies in Early Learning & Child Care
WASHINGTON – Last night, top congressional appropriators announced that they struck a deal on a funding framework for the year-end FY2023 omnibus spending package. The First Five Years Fund (FFYF) joins lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in calling on appropriators to ensure the final bill puts the Child Care Development Block Grant program (CCDBG) on a path to double funding, and provides substantial investments for the nation’s bedrock early learning and care programs.
By investing in these programs, Congress has the power to support families with young children while simultaneously strengthening local economies and providing our youngest generation with the education and care they need to thrive. FFYF Executive Director Sarah Rittling released the following statement:
“The clearest path to garnering bipartisan support for the year-end spending bill lies in including substantial investments in early learning and child care programs. This year, both Democrat and Republican lawmakers have explicitly called on appropriators to work to double funding for CCDBG and make significant increases to America’s core early learning and care programs. To have such clear, cross-aisle agreement on any major issue is almost unheard of in today’s ever-polarizing climate, but Members are steadfast in their support for investing in early learning to meet the needs of families, young children, and our economy. Congressional leaders should use this opportunity to deliver much needed support to America’s working families by coming together to provide the substantive investments in federal early learning and child care that are desperately needed.”
This year, a record number of “Dear Colleague” letters were circulated in support of increased funding for the various federal early learning and care programs.
Earlier this month, House Democrats sent a letter calling on appropriators to double funding for CCDBG which was signed by 121 lawmakers and can be found here. An excerpt from the letter reads:
“Given the critical needs of the sector, and the call by Members from both parties to significantly increase funding for child care, we urge Committee leadership to include the highest possible funding amount for CCDBG in a final package and to consider calls to double funding for CCDBG.”
Earlier this year, Senate Republicans sent a letter calling on appropriators to put CCDBG on a path to double funding over the next five years, which can be found here. An excerpt from the letter reads:
“As you develop the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we respectfully request that you put funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) on a path to double in five years. Of the many funding priorities before your subcommittee, there are few as crucial to America’s working families as child care assistance provided through CCDBG.”
The 118th Congress Members-Elect letter calling on Appropriators to double CCDBG can be found here. An excerpt from the letter reads:
“We ask that you pass Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations legislation with the largest possible investments in early childhood programs that our constituents depend on. This includes an additional $4.4 billion for Head Start and an additional $6.17 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) above the enacted FY2022 funding levels.”
New polling released by FFYF on November 30th found that voters and small business owners overwhelmingly support the federal government taking action on child care. In fact, the two groups are in lockstep on this point: 74% of both voters and small business owners say that federal funding for child care and early learning programs should be increased.
- Among voters surveyed, this sentiment was shared across party lines—88% of Democrats, 70% of swing voters, and 61% of Republicans agree.
- Similarly, among small business owners, 82% of Democrats, 72% of Independents and 68% of Republicans agree.
Voters and small business owners also agree access to child care is central to strengthening the U.S. economy and supporting workers.
- 70% of voters say access to high-quality, affordable child care is “essential” or “very important” to our ability to strengthen the economy and help workers, including 74% of suburban women.
- 71% of small business owners think that access to high-quality, affordable child care is essential or important to strengthening the economy and helping workers, including 68% of Republicans.