WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill agree that child care is unaffordable and sometimes unattainable for many families. What they can’t agree on is how to fix those problems.
Parents, childcare advocates and lawmakers all say the US childcare system is broken.
“Childcare costs for American families have risen more than twice the rate of inflation,” said Rhian Evans Allvin of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. “And early childhood educators earn poverty level wages that undermine their complex work and limit the supply of care.”
Democrats are still pushing for their Build Back Better Plan that contains provisions for low-cost childcare and free pre-school.
Washington Democrat Sen. Patty Murray said it’s “a fully paid plan to bring down costs for families, bring up wages for workers and give parents across the country more freedom.”
Republican North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr pointed out that Democrats haven’t been able to get enough support – even from their own party- for to pass the plan.
“Wow! How could you not have passed this into law by now? It’s all free,” Burr said. “With no plan for paying for two new entitlements, the proposal hides the long term costs.”
Burr said he proposes improving and reauthorizing a current government program.
But all of the 4 witnesses who testified said that program — child care and development block grant — doesn’t do enough.
“Because of the lack of resources and limited reach, most families in the United States are not included at all,” said Julie Kashen, the director of Women’s Economic Justice, Century Foundation.
Childcare advocates also said the investments proposed by Democrats are necessary. But Democrats have no clear path for passing them.