WASHINGTON – As negotiations on the budget reconciliation process continue, over 550 organizations have signed onto a letter to Democratic Congressional leaders urging lawmakers to maintain crucial provisions of the Build Back Better Act: paid family and medical leave, Child Tax Credit, and child care & preschool. The letter was signed by national, state, and local organizations from all 50 states — many of which are stakeholders on these policy issues individually or collectively — making clear clear that the existing proposals for all three of these elements of Build Back Better Act should be maintained in the final package.
From the letter:
“These interconnected investments are most successful when they are paired together in order to sustainably advance families’ economic stability, address their care needs, and achieve lasting and positive effects on our communities and economy. Each of these crucial provisions were included in this historic package by President Biden and Congressional Democrats because they are pro-family, pro-child, pro-work, and pro-business, all at the same time.
Congress has an opportunity to ensure every child has a strong start in life and every parent has the means to provide for themselves and their families, while also supporting women’s labor force participation amid a pandemic and economic crisis that has had a devastating impact on working mothers, in particular. We implore you to pass the Build Back Better Act with the proposed funding for these vital provisions – paid leave, the Child Tax Credit, and child care & preschool – intact.”
In addition to the crucial proposals related to paid leave and the Child Tax Credit, the Build Back Better Act’s proposed federal investments in child care and pre-K, along with crucial enhancements to the existing Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), underscore the Biden administration’s commitment to finding solutions to America’s longstanding child care crisis by addressing widespread challenges with access, affordability, and quality in early learning, while reinforcing the benefits of a strong mixed-delivery system that prioritizes parent choice in determining the type and setting of care that best meets a family’s needs. The proposal would build on existing state and federal preschool programs by providing funding to cover the federal share of the cost of a voluntary universal pre-k (UPK) program for all children, regardless of income or other eligibility requirements, in a variety of settings. Additionally, the proposal seeks to resolve existential flaws in America’s child care market caused by decades of underinvestment, which create an entirely untenable business model for providers that often translates into near-poverty wages for early educators.
The First Five Years Fund is the leading bipartisan federal advocacy organization working to ensure all children from birth through age five have equal access to affordable, comprehensive, high-quality care and education to support their healthy development and help them achieve their full potential in school and life. FFYF seeks to expand federal support for all early learning and care opportunities that are high-quality and focused first on serving those children most-at-risk.http://www.ffyf.org