Sen. Murray: Build Back Better will cut child care costs in half
It’s one of the reasons the AFL-CIO urges you to call Congress in support of #BuildBackBetter
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 10, 2021) — U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a former preschool teacher, has announced her strong support for the life-changing investments in child care and pre-K that drastically cut child care costs for Washington state families, which were included in the Democrats’ reconciliation package, known as the Build Back Better Act.
Murray has led the fight for high-quality, affordable child care and pre-K since she first was elected to the Senate in 1992. The Build Back Better child care and universal pre-K policies were modeled off of Murray’s Child Care for Working Families Act, and will dramatically lower child care costs for the vast majority of working families in America, dramatically increase the number of child care providers nationwide, raise child care workers’ wages, and establish universal pre-K for every family.
TAKE A STAND — With the passage of the historic $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the AFL-CIO is calling on union members and community supporters to contact their member of Congress and urge them to finish the job by immediately passing the Build Back Better Act. This is a $1.75 trillion investment not only in child care, but also in home care, clean energy jobs, health care, tax fairness, immigration improvements and support for worker organizing. Take action today!
“Our child care crisis is one of the reasons I ran for office in the first place,” Murray said. “To this day, when I talk to workers, parents, and business owners, the first thing they tell me is finding and affording child care is keeping people from getting back to work — especially coming out of the pandemic. That’s why we’re dramatically lowering families’ child care costs, helping parents get back to work, and making child care more available by finally paying child care workers the higher wages they deserve. For too long, our country has told working parents ‘you’re on your own’ when it comes to child care instead of ‘we’ve got your back.’ Finally, that’s about to change.”
Right now, the country’s child care crisis is causing a massive financial strain on working families, forcing parents — and in particular, women — out of the workforce, and leaving child care workers unable to make ends meet. With child care costs currently just over $1,300 per month, families with infants would need to pay nearly $16,000 per year on average to cover the cost of high-quality child care. Sixteen thousand dollars is 21 percent of the U.S. average income for a family of three. At the same time, child care workers are struggling to make ends meet.
Under the child care proposal in the Build Back Better Act, families across the country would save an average of $5,000 to $6,500 a year in child care costs and millions will pay nothing at all. For example, when fully implemented, no family of four in Washington state making less than $254,000 would spend more than 7 percent of their income on child care, resulting in big savings for Washington families. A family of four making $151,000 in Washington state would save $164 per week on child care. Many families earning lower incomes would pay nothing at all. A family of four in Washington earning less than $76,000 would receive free child care.
And even for families who can afford child care — too many can’t find it. More than 50 percent of Americans — and 60% of rural Americans — live in child care deserts, or communities with an inadequate supply of licensed child care — and this was before COVID-19 forced over 20,000 providers to close their doors. The Build Back Better Act would invest in building up our child care supply so that every family has access to quality child care that they can afford.
► From Nov. 3 in the Seattle Times — We can rebuild child care in America (by Sen. Patty Murray) — What we are doing is rebuilding a badly broken child care industry from the ground up. I’m a former preschool teacher, so I know how much work goes into high quality child care, and I know we’ve got to get this right. That’s why, for the first three years, my plan will invest significantly to help states build more child care providers and raise provider wages. During that time, families will start getting the support they need to afford child care — subsidies would be available to families immediately and gradually expand eligibility to additional families each year, ensuring families who make less get help first. Families will pay less, child care workers will earn higher wages and child care providers will be able to increase the number of children they can serve, so child care finally does what it’s intended to: Allow working parents to do their jobs knowing their kids are safe and taken care of.
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