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Courtney Joins Reps. DeLauro, Scott, Murray, and Others to Introduce Legislation Establishing a Child Care Stabilization Fund

May 27, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) joined Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, and other Representatives in introducing the Child Care is Essential Act. The new bill would establish a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund within the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. Rep. Courtney is an original co-sponsor of the legislation.

As businesses begin to reopen and working families need child care, many providers across the country remain shut down, or are operating with greatly reduced capacity. Child care providers that are able to stay open are struggling against increased operating costs with limited revenue, and many are at risk of permanent closure. Today, the Hartford Courant reported that Connecticut could lose as many as 45,000 child care spaces due to the coronavirus pandemic. Recent estimates from the National Women’s Law Center show that it would take at least $9.6 billion per month to keep current child care providers in business.

“On my telephone town hall last Tuesday, I spoke with the owner of a child care center in eastern Connecticut who told me that her small business is under immense pressure,” said Congressman Courtney.  “In addition to her story, I have also heard from employers in virtual meetings with Chambers of Commerce who are struggling to re-call their employees because there are so few child care center openings due to the shrinking number of providers. Like all small businesses, child care providers are facing serious challenges—their operating costs have spiked due to the need for PPE, and they’re trying to get the job done for families who are experiencing reduced income. Child care is absolutely critical for working families in eastern Connecticut, especially those whose children’s schools remain closed until further notice. Any member of Congress interested in a strong economic recovery needs to help support our child care centers—they don’t just provide jobs, they give American families the ability to go work and know that their children are in a safe and healthy environment.”

The new Child Care Stabilization Fund would provide $50 billion in emergency grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector and support providers to safely reopen and operate. These grants would help child care providers and working families by:

  • Ensuring that the grants adequately support providers’ operating expenses and funding gets to them quickly;
  • Requiring that providers continue to pay their staff;
  • Providing tuition and copayment relief for working families;
  • Promoting health and safety through compliance with public health guidance;
  • Prioritizing providers that serve underserved populations;
  • Ensuring grants are awarded equitably across child care settings; and
  • Conducting oversight through robust reporting requirements

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has introduced identical legislation in the Senate. Other House co-sponsors of the Child Care is Essential Act include: Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), and Haley Stevens (MI-11). Senate cosponsors include: Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Tina Smith (D-MN).