SEN. ROB PORTMAN HIGHLIGHTS CHILD CARE CHALLENGES AS BARRIER TO WORK : In a recent speech, Senator Portman (R-OH) spoke about the prohibitive cost of child care for parents who are trying to return to work: “Are there other factors that are leading to this labor problem that we have now in our country? I think there are. I think there are. One is that we have a situation now where some people just can’t afford childcare… If they go to work, they’ve got to pay for child care. And child care is too expensive. And I’d like to work on that.“
MINORITY LEADER MCCONNELL ECHOED PORTMAN’S CHILD CARE COMMENTS in a new statement about the federal relief funding passed in December: “Kentucky’s childcare and early-education providers have worked courageously during the coronavirus pandemic to create safe and nurturing environments for the next generation in the Bluegrass. I’m proud they’re receiving federal resources from the big and bipartisan COVID rescue bill I championed to continue their important work. As more Kentucky parents are able to head back to work, these educational and social services are as important as ever to help our Commonwealth’s economy come roaring back.” Leader McConnell’s press statement.
ICYMI: The Economic Impact of Child Care Breakdowns: Underscoring the importance of high-quality, affordable child care for America’s workforce, data from U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation reveals states are missing out on billions of dollars in economic activity as a result of breakdowns in child care. Read the analysis from Iowa, Idaho, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania here.
Democrats & Republicans in Congress Call for Increased Early Learning & Care Funding: As part of the appropriations process, Republican and Democratic lawmakers sent five “Dear Colleague” letters related to federal early learning and care programs. Notable stats from these letters include:
- 225 total members of Congress signed onto ECE Dear Colleague Letters, including 182 Democrats and 43 Republicans
- More than 1 in 5 House Republicans joined a Dear Colleague letter supporting robust funding for early learning and care programs
- More Republicans signed onto the federal child care subsidy Dear Colleague than ever before, a 56% increase over last year
- Steady increase in the number of signers to the bipartisan letter supporting Head Start funding
- A 14% increase in the number of signers to the Democratic House Dear Colleague letter supporting CCDBG and IDEA funding in FY22
Read more about the Dear Colleagues here.
WHAT WE ARE READING:
- ROLL CALL: Campaign spending on child care growing steadily since FEC allowed it: “Overall, 51 candidates, including some Republican men, have spent campaign dollars on child care since the FEC first allowed it in 2018. That’s according to a study released Tuesday by a nonprofit founded by a losing candidate who got the rule changed… While the majority of the candidates to report such expenses were Democrats, about a third were Republicans, the report found.” Read the full report on the use of campaign funds for child care from Vote Mama Foundation here.
- CNN: Offices are reopening. For parents, that raises a childcare problem: “Major companies have made clear they’re expecting workers to return to the office this summer. Yet many schools and child care facilities are still partially remote, running shorter hours or fully booked. That means some parents, often mothers, will face a difficult decision about whether they can return to the office — because of care logistics or due to safety concerns as young children aren’t set to be vaccinated anytime soon.”
- Fast Company: Childcare is replacing housing as the top reason California is unaffordable: “One in three Californian households find it hard to pay for the essentials, according to a new report from the Insight Center, an national organization dedicated to economic security and justice, The Cost of Being Californian. It finds that childcare costs have surged to become the highest expense, outpacing housing in all but five of the state’s 58 counties. What’s more, households of color have more financial worries than white households, and, while the pandemic has exacerbated economic insecurity, inequities started long before COVID-19.”
TOMORROW’S HOPE: Join FFYF and the child care and early learning community tomorrow, May 20th, to watch the premiere of the new documentary Tomorrow’s Hope. The film follows three present-day high school seniors who had started out in the Educare preschool’s first-ever class, exploring how they’ve navigated foreboding realities past and present, while also delving into the lingering ripple effects from their early childhood education. Register for the virtual premiere here.