September 14, 2017

Wyden, Merkley, Bonamici Join Effort to Help Working Families Access Affordable, High-Quality Child Care

Lawmakers Support Comprehensive Child Care, Early Learning Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC – Today Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., a leader on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, joined comprehensive legislation to improve child care and early learning programs. The Child Care for Working Families Act, introduced by Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Congressman Bobby Scott, D-Va., will provide every child with access to high-quality early learning and care that is affordable for working families. The effort is a part of Congressional Democrats’ commitment to give working families a better deal by building an economy that works for everyone.

Under The Child Care for Working Families Act no family under 150 percent of state median income would pay more than seven percent of their income on child care. Families would pay their fair share for care on a sliding scale, regardless of the number of children they have. In addition, the bill would support universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year-olds. The bill would also improve compensation and training for the child care workforce so our nation’s teachers and caregivers have the support they need to provide the best possible education to the children in their care.

“Unfortunately, Oregon families are all too familiar with the rising costs of child care. Our state’s moms and dads suffer some of the most expensive child care in the United States,” Wyden said. “Parents should not have to choose between providing their children with quality care and paying the bills. This legislation would ensure middle- and working-class families in Oregon and across the country have access to affordable, dependable child care.”

“Working families in Oregon continue to pay some of the highest child care costs in the country,” Bonamici said. “The high cost of child care forces too many low-income families to rely on ‘patchwork child care’ to cover parents’ work schedules. Children benefit from early education, which prepares them to thrive and succeed in school and throughout life. The Child Care for Working Families Act is a comprehensive plan to give all Americans the opportunity to create a better life for their children.”

“Finding child care is stressful enough without worrying about how to afford a five-figure price tag for it,” Merkley said. “For Oregon families, a year of tuition at the University of Oregon is cheaper than the average annual cost for child care. That’s absurd. Middle class families deserve a break, and this bill guarantees them the quality child care they need at a price they can afford.”

Bonamici is the Vice Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee and has been an outspoken advocate for improving child care and working family policies. In 2015, she led an effort in the House calling for universal affordable child care. Bonamici and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) have introduced bipartisan legislation to expand access to nutritious meals for young children in child care. Bonamici has been a leader in calling for all workers to have access to paid family leave.