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tv   House Hearing on Child Care During COVID-19  CSPAN  February 22, 2021 3:41am-6:00am EST

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in the absence of a counsel, i am banging on the table. there we go. some housekeeping things first. as the hearing is virtual we
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need to address some of these issues. for today's meeting, the chair may mute participants' microphones when they are not under recognition for the purposes of eliminating inadvertent background noise. members are responsible for muting and unmuting themselves. if i notice you have not unmuted yourself, i will ask you if you would like staff to unmute you. if you indicate approval, staff will unmute your microphone. i remind members and witnesses that the five-minute clock still applies. if there is a technology issue, we will move on to the next member until the issues resolved, and you will retain the balance of your time. you will notice a clock on your screen that will show how much time is remaining. at one minute remaining, the clock will turn yellow. at 30 seconds remaining, i will gently tap the gavel to remind members that their time is almost expired.
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when your time is expired, the clock will turn red and i will begin to recognize the next member. in terms of speaking order, we will begin with the chair and ranking member, and members present at the time the hearing is called to order will be recognized in order of seniority. finally, members not present at the time of the hearing is called to order. finally, house rules require me to remind you that we have set up an email address to which members can send anything they wish to submit in writing at any of our hearings or markups. that email address has been provided in advance to your staff. with that, i want to acknowledge ranking member cole and all of our colleagues joining us as we come together to discuss the covid-19 pandemic and the childcare crisis. let me also welcome our
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witnesses this morning. melissa, vice president, income security and childcare early learning national women's law center. georgia, director, hope child development center. dr. teresa holly, first assistant deputy governor, education, office of illinois governor jb pritzker. dr. catherine stevens, visiting scholar, american enterprise institute. we will provide more fulsome introductions before their testimony. but we are so glad that you could join us this morning. thank you for the work that you do every day. the fight for childcare is such an important one, but it breaks my heart that it has to be a fight at all.
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i have said time and time again that the united states has been teetering on the break of a childcare crisis, but now this covid-19 pandemic has pushed us over the edge. even before the pandemic began, affordable childcare was already a significant and severe issue. now this pandemic has further exacerbated and exposed existing disparities. women, particularly women of color, have been disproportionately impacted by this crisis. the national women's law center reports since february of last year, women have lost over 5.3 million net jobs and account for 53.8% of overall job loss since the beginning of this pandemic. recent data on job losses also revealed employers cut 140,000 jobs in december. every single job cut belonged to a woman. and mothers with young children were hit particularly hard.
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while this was an issue before the pandemic, covid-19 has intensified these problems, again, especially for women of color. part of this has to do with childcare. lack of childcare has been cited as a reason women are still highly reflected in the unemployment numbers. according to testimony, and i quote, "approximately 32% of employers said they have already seen employees leave since the pandemic." half of those cited childcare as the reason. to be clear, women are not opting out of the workforce, but rather they are being pushed out by inadequate policies. we have a real opportunity not just to throw money at the problem, but to build the architecture for the future and use this as a moment to address these serious inequities
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that have been further exposed by the coronavirus pandemic. because it is unconscionable that each day hard working mothers, women, and families make a hard choice between going to work and ensuring their kids
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it is critical for congress to do more to ensure programs like the childcare block development grant receives the funding they need. as you will recall, congress appropriated $5.9 billion for child care development block grants in 2021. in addition, was included for ctbgd in the cares act, an additional $10 million in the supplemental. to be frank, the funding is not nearly enough. just as we provided grants in the cares act to the payroll support program so airlines could pay their employees and keep flying through this pandemic. we support that effort. we must also do what is
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necessary to get our economy back on track by rescuing the child care industry. we provided over $648 billion for the paycheck protection program to get small business owners back on their feet. it was a good thing to do. we need to do what is necessary to stabilize the childcare industry, to allow parents and child caregivers to get back to work. one of our witnesses, melissa, will discuss more in her testimony that childcare is work that makes work possible. if it is true that the childcare industry makes all other work possible, then why have we . provided only $13.5 billion in supplemental funding to the ccbdg? if childcare providers are
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essential workers, why aren't we treating childcare work as essential? $13.5 billion is not enough, which is why it is crucial that we act and act quickly. at the end of the day, if we cannot make families feel that their kids will be safe, secure in their childcare setting, then we cannot build a feasible path to a recovery. with that, let me turn to my friend and colleague from oklahoma, the ranking member, congressman cole, for any opening remarks he may have. i will ask those who are not speaking to please get yourself on mute so that we can move forward. congressman cole? >> thank you, madam chair. let me just say it is a pleasure to have you once again as the chairwoman of the subcommittee, chair of the whole committee.
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i think i can speak for people on both sides of the aisle. we think this will help us a lot in our allocation request. [laughter] while as a republican, once it was clear we were going to be in the minority, it is clear, i was the head of the republicans for delauro. i congratulate my colleagues on the others of the aisle in making a wise choice to chair our full committee, as well as your decision to remain ever as our subcommittee chairman. i'm really grateful for both of those things. i want to begin, madam chair, our first hearing in the 117th congress by reiterating my commitment to working with you whenever we can to find common , ground on what looks to be yet another challenging year. we will have our work cut out for us, but our six years of working together has laid a good foundation. just last year, we were able to
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come together and pass not one, but five, coronavirus supplemental appropriations, and from the standpoint of this committee, more importantly, a full year's appropriation for this bill. this serves as a testament to what this institution can achieve together, even in a divisive political climate. i certainly hope we can continue those efforts, and i'm sure you do as well. i also want to welcome back to our subcommittee mr. fleischman. he's been a strong member in the past and we are glad to have him return. i'm sure he will make an exceptional contribution to our deliberations. i would also like to acknowledge our newest member on our side of the aisle, mr. cline from virginia. we look forward to working with him and the new perspective that he will bring to the subcommittee. i will also report he has been known to smoke an occasional cigar, so he happens to be one of my favorite new members, madam chair.
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now to turn to the topic at hand today, the impact of the pandemic and the childcare industry. the economic shock our nation experienced in the spring this last year was unprecedented. real gross domestic product declined at an annual rate of over 30%. our lives were completely upended. while almost no industry was spared from the economic fallout, the childcare industry was hit especially hard. much of the industry had closed completely for large portions of the year. even those who were able to remain open had capacity of no more than a quarter of what it was in the prior year. thankfully, in the first weeks of this year, we are continuing to see an economic turnaround. in many respects, the economic rebound of the last couple months is unparalleled. however, not everyone has been fortunate enough to see their situation improve and we continue to hear too many stories of families struggling.
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to address the consequences, congress provided nearly $7 billion in supplemental appropriations, accompanied by hundreds of billions of dollars more from mandatory entitlement extensions. of the appropriated dollars, an overwhelming 63%, or $434 was billion for this subcommittee, with $13.5 billion exclusively to support childcare access for low income families. the last supplemental passed a few weeks ago, included $10 billion to support this critical industry, to aid our continued economic recovery. i've been proud to support all these bills and believe they have done much to ward off what could have been an even more severe economic fallout. prioritizing funding for child care and providing options for parents to get back to work has been something both republicans and democrats have been able to support. i think in addition to ensuring childcare options remain available for parents, we also need to ensure our public
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schools begin opening their doors to students. there is no substitute for in person learning. as we consider additional resource needs, i hope we can also focus on reopening our public schools. as we look toward industries still in distress, we need to allow the resources appropriated just a few weeks ago to make their way into our local communities. i believe we need to see who is still being left out of the recovery and tailor future efforts for those that truly need it. the pandemic has shed light on gaps in data and national statistics. in many cases, we still lack the information needed on how to target relief to achieve maximum benefit. there is also increasing concern that we are no longer focusing on families in need of assistance but providing subsidies to the well-to-do who do not need it. i hope we can address those questions today. i want to thank our witnesses for volunteering their time and expertise. i had the opportunity to read
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their excellent testimony last night. i look forward to hearing each of your recommendations this morning. with that, madam chair, i yield back the balance of my time. chairwoman delauro: i excited to am chair the full committee. as you have noted in the past, the former chair of the committee, congresswoman lowy, this subcommittee was near and dear to her heart, as it is to mine. i am also hopeful that our opportunities together will increase the allocation that we get. but i want to say, often times people will say to me, why can't democrats and republicans get along for the common good? congressman cole, i cite the
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relationship we have, and as you pointed out, we do have differences, and that is to be anticipated, but that common ground and that believe of knowing and understanding why we serve, as you do, that our job here is to try to affect differences and hope in the lives of people that we do represent. that is critically important to me, and i cite our relationship as the example of the fact of what we tried to do everyday, trying to work together in these efforts. i also want to welcome congressman fleischman back. we co-chaired for a while the baby caucus. his interest in children and families is well known. to congressman cline, wonderful to have you. i was remiss in my opening
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remarks not to recognize our newest member of the committee, and that is congresswoman brenda lawrence from michigan, labor hhs. you should know in the organizational committee in , order to get on this committee, it was interesting -- no one knew what she was going to do. she threw in all of her committee assignments she had, so when they came around, this , labor hhs is what she , selected. that tells you about her commitment to the issues that come before this subcommittee. with that, let me again welcome and introduce our witnesses. melissa, vice president income , security childcare and early learning at the national women's law center. georgia goldburn.
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, director of the hope child of my constituents. i have been to the hope develop and center. georgia has been doing amazing work. you will hear her fighting on the front lines for child care providers in the district. it is really a steadfast dedication to our nation's kids and families and workers. it is really beyond compare. i know we all have examples of the georgias in our own communities, but i would single my georgia out here for her efforts. where is josh? is josh harder there too? anyway, new to our committee. i will talk more about josh in a little bit. dr. katharine stevens, a visiting scholar from the american enterprise institute. dr. stevens, it said that you taught in the schools in new haven, so i would love to know
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what schools you taught at. i am a townie, born and raised in new haven. i'm anxious to find out where you taught in new haven. now, i would like to yield to congresswoman bustos from illinois who will introduce dr. holly. >> thank you so much, chairwoman delauro. am i audible to everybody? let me start out by saying how much i appreciate you, chairwoman, your leadership on this issue, and for inviting dr. holly from my home state of illinois, who i'm proud to introduce. dr. teresa holly serves as the first assistant deputy governor for education in the office of illinois governor jb pritzker. she supports state education initiatives first through college, so a wide range of responsibilities. dr. holly has nearly three decades of experience in developing programs and systems
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that support the school readiness and healthy development of young children in poverty. most importantly for the stake sake of this hearing today, dr. holly leads the state early childhood response to the covid-19 pandemic. she has been at the forefront of governor pritzker's great work that i'm so proud of. where they are supporting families and childcare providers during this very difficult time for families all over. with the help of the cares dollars, illinois was able to provide grants to nearly 5000 childcare providers across 95 of our state's 102 counties. this helped -- get this -- three fourths of the grantees cover as much as half of their expenses. these grants also helped the childcare providers retain more than eight out of every 10 of their employees that they had before the pandemic. this funding and other great work helped to keep the childcare operations in our
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state open, kept staff employed, and gave families options in these difficult times. i want to say thank you to dr. hawley for being here, and i look forward to your testimony as i know the rest of the committee does. thank you for your great work. thank you, madam chair. i yield back. chairwoman delauro: a full written testimony will be included in the record. you are now recognized for five minutes for your opening statement. ms. botea? >> good morning. ranking member cole, other distinct members of the subcommittee, my name is melissa botea.
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ch. we are here today because america faces a childcare crisis, one with far-reaching and devastating effects for children, families, and the economy overall. as of january 2021, half of the 350,000 childcare jobs that were lost at the onslaught of the pandemic had not yet returned. the national association for the education of young children surveyed over 6000 providers in december 2020. nearly half reported they knew multiple centers in their home or community that closed. 44% reported so much uncertainty they were unable to say how much longer they could stay open. these numbers are a call to action. in addition to being crucial for children's development and a vital support for parents, childcare's infrastructure, it holds up our economy, bridges workers and jobs, and like physical infrastructure, care infrastructure makes all other jobs possible. my testimony today will address how we got here, the effects of this crisis, and solutions to build a stronger childcare system. even before covid-19, america raised a quiet childcare crisis.
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families were struggling to find and afford childcare with fewer than one in seven children served by federal childcare programs. nearly half of americans lived in a childcare desert without sufficient supply. early educators, who are virtually all women and disproportionately women of color and immigrant women, were paid poverty wages with over half depending on public assistance. these trends were rooted in a racist and sexist history of undervaluing the care work done by women, especially by black women, indigenous women, and other women of color. into this fragile system covid-19 was the perfect storm. today, childcare providers that are open are going into debt to operate safely, paying more for staff, cleaning supplies, and ppe, even as their revenues are down. thousands have shuttered, many permanently due to the increased , cost of operating in a pandemic and under enrollment.
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the sectors collapse has had ' collapse has had far-reaching consequences. first, women's employment gains are being set back a generation. prior to the pandemic, we celebrated women comprising half the workforce. fast forward, and last month alone, 271,000 women left the labor force, bringing the total number to over 2.3 million compared to 1.8 million men. these women are not dropping out of the labor force, they are being pushed by our lack of care infrastructure with long-term consequences for their families ' income and retirement security. second, when our childcare collapses, children pay a price. children everywhere feel the strain of parental stress and lose out on the educational opportunities that high quality childcare can provide. finally, it undermines our economic foundation. the center for american progress estimate the risk of women leaving the workforce or reducing hours to resume caretaking responsibilities could amount to more than $65
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billion a year in lost wages and economic activity. for context that is more than , the cost of legislation to provide housing for affordable childcare for all. we are we go from here? we must pass the american rescue first, plan, the minimum required with the resources to operate safely, ensure fair wages and protections for childcare workers to stabilize childcare business, and to ensure they can be there when the economy reopens, and support families with lower copayments and expand eligibility. second, increase spending for early learning programs in the fiscal year 2022 appropriations would provide states with more certainty, allowing them to more strategically spend dollars without fear of facing state budget cliffs. finally while stabilization is , urgent, the goal is not to return to an equitable pre-pandemic status quo. instead we need to build toward , quality care for all families that meets the diverse needs
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along with those of a well , supported workforce. inclusion in future jobs and packages will be crucial for this goal. the covid-19 pandemic has laid bare and exacerbated long-standing equities in our childcare system and presents us with a stark choice. do we watch a childcare crisis that will set women back a generation, compromise children's benefits and harm the economy? or do we invest in childcare as a public good, laying the foundation for stronger families and economy? i urge you to choose investment in childcare. chairwoman delauro: there we go.
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thank you for keeping it under five minutes. i want to introduce our next witness, ms. goldburn. full written testimony will be included in the record. you are recognized for five minutes for your opening statement. >> good morning. if you would indulge me for a quick second to say -- and this is simply fact, not an opinion -- i have the best representative in the entire world. i just want to say that, and not to diminish anyone else. just a fact. [laughter] chairwoman delauro, ranking member cole, and distinguished members, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts on the childcare industry. my name is georgia goldburn. hope for new haven is a safe
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space nonprofit located in new haven, connecticut, and manages the hope child of element center. we serve children from six weeks to age 13. we serve children and families of color. early in the pandemic, our organization assessed our options with our staff after the abrupt closure of the paycheck protection program.
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structural inequities due to chronic underfunding and denying lung neglect left the industry particularly vulnerable to the pandemic and threatened our very capacity to respond to the crisis. as i watched our industry step up to support our nation from our long beleaguered economic perch, my lament was not how broken the system was but how efficiently and inconsistently this broken system continues to undermine women, the poor, and especially people of color. this was in the paycheck protection program. because of the financial nature of the childcare industry, it sidelined many providers. according to a survey conducted by the national association for the education of young children, 75% of childcare family businesses is not secure funding through these programs in the first stimulus round. a fact that is borne out by our experience and reported from our state staff this year, we held a family childcare provider apply for over $10,000, an amount she didn't know she was eligible for last year. furthermore, the industry's effort to reopen and remain open continues to be stymied by critical staff storage due to low salary potential, and low enrollment. all of these form a perfect storm around the industry that will result in catastrophic loss of programs. in connecticut, 15 to 20% of
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centers are family group homes. 80% of programs remain closed as of today. the fear is these closures will be permanent. former treasury secretary timothy geithner are reflected on the response to the 2008 financial crisis said the failure was not acting early enough to reduce the risk of the existentially damaging event that seemed remote and implausible. sadly, we are at another such crossroads. childcare industry is on the verge of collapse. it is not hyperbole or partisan talk, it is a fact. if we fail to act once more to an event that for some may seem implausible, unlike the 2008 crisis, the costs will not be measured in dollars and cents. thank you for your time.
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chairwoman delauro: thank you. what is happening here? hold on. ok. i would like to introduce catherine stevens. catherine, where did you teach? >> lila day nurseries. chairwoman delauro: my gosh, thanks. i know it well, have been there many times. that is great. it really is a great place. great reputation, been there for years and years. thank you. you are recognized for five minutes. thank you. >> chairwoman delauro, ranking member cole, and distinguished
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members of the subcommittee thank you for the opportunity to , testify today on the crucial issue of high quality care for young children. my name is catherine stevens. i'm a scholar at the american enterprise institute, a nonpartisan think tank where i focus on the science and early development and its implications for how policy can advance the well-being of all our nations young children. the views i offered today are mine alone. it is a huge step forward but it is now so widely recognized that children's earliest years are critical to their long-term health and well-being. yet, as the other witnesses have emphasized, a large number of the most vulnerable children still lack access to high-quality childcare, even as research is crystal clear that the quality of care matters for exactly those children the most. as a result, healthy development of lower income children in poor quality childcare is
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compromised. at the same time, workforce participation among parents who are unwilling to put their children in substandard care is greatly constrained. this is an emergency affecting millions of disadvantaged children and their families. ccdbg targets lower income working families earning under 85% of their state's median income, currently averaging $77,000 a year for a family of four, but many families who need subsidies don't get them. for those that do, subsidy amounts in the most all states fall short of what is needed to access the high quality care that wealthier families are already using for their children. the bottom line is that too many low income working families greatly need help they are not receiving. but the childcare plan that's been laid out is not targeted to either the providers or the families who are truly struggling, while it disproportionately benefiting
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benefits much more affluent families. even more worrisome to me, it is based on a deeply flawed assumption that it is developmentally optimal for all young children to spend a large proportion of their earliest years in out of home care. as i explained at greater length in my written testimony, i have three additional concerns about this plan. first, as i have said, lower income working families' access to high-quality care has long been inadequate which has been , hurting many families and their young children for years. but according to the most recent reliable evidence, no extreme pandemic cost prices in childcare for young children really exist. in fact, the primary crisis working women are now facing is due to school closures, not a lack of child care for children under five.
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second, establishing childcare stabilization funding separate from ccdbg accomplishes no unique ends with respect to stabilizing childcare. what it will do is diminish state leadership in early childhood while creating a whole new state level administrative entities directed by the federal government and focused on building childcare industry rather than meeting the critical need. as an emergency response as a follow-up to the pandemic that , is a misrepresentation because its primary aims are to advance a long-standing advocacy agenda. the plan aims to leverage pandemic relief funds to carry out a trial run of universal childcare while laying substantial groundwork for a major, permanent expansion of government-funded non-parental care. in closing, i want to make one final point.
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a large number of adults have become increasingly enthusiastic about expanding childcare to all young children for reasons you already know. of course, the economy matters. of course, women's careers matters. r. but what matters most of all is the well-being of young children. our growing assumption that long hours and childcare have no negative impact on them is incorrect. we need to think much more carefully before taking the enormous steps toward promoting institutional care for all young children that this legislation is proposing. i know that some object to the plan because of its cost. that is not my primary concern. my primary concern is the well-being of our nation's young children and i urge you to , reconsider this plan for their sake. thank you again for allowing me to provide testimony before this committee on such an important topic. i look forward to your questions. chairwoman delauro: thank you
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very much. the next witness is dr. hawley. your full written testimony will be included in the record. you are recognized for five minutes for your opening statement. >> good morning, chair delauro, ranking member cole, other distinguished members of the committee. thank you for inviting me to speak today. my name is teresa hawley and i serve as first assistant deputy governor for education for the state of illinois. i work with an incredible team in our governor's office and state agencies to support education first to college. as such, have unique perspective on how the pandemic has affected early childhood education and care compared to k-12 and higher ed. i want to share with you some of our experiences over the past year. in march 2020, we required childcare centers and homes to be closed except to children of essential workers. this provided a significant burden to businesses who relied on per child revenue.
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we moved quickly to use our cares block grant funding to minimize revenue losses for centers and homes and to offset , some of the increased cost of providing care for our emergency childcare providers. because only 40% of care in illinois is subsidized, we knew that many providers would not benefit from our subsidy policy changes, so we partnered with philanthropy to provide access to other federal funding, like the paycheck protection program and the economic injury disaster loan. in april, the governor's economic team was working with leaders across industries to develop health and safety guidelines for their reopening. they heard from employers over and over, what will happen with childcare? our employees will not come back unless childcare is available. with an estimated 15% of the workforce needing childcare to work, we needed our childcare programs to reopen. we worked with public care
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experts and childcare providers across the state to develop our reopening health and safety guidance, which included having fewer children in classroom and avoiding the combining of classes at the beginning or end of the day. this meant providers would continue to experience reduced revenue and increased cost. according to our cost models, we have estimated the overall loss of childcare providers in illinois equaled $50 million per month. federal leave from ppp had run its course and providers were reaching out, telling us they were afraid that they would have to close permanently. the financial impact on childcare providers and the potential impact on childcare shortages was part of every discussion our team had on reopening the economy. in our state budget passed in may 2020, governor pritzker and our general assembly stepped up and devoted $290 from the million coronavirus relief fund to support childcare.
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we quickly revised the program to stabilize and reopen childcare programs and had applications available by july. we collected extensive input from providers and used cost modeling to develop the formula for the grant to replace a portion of providers' lost income. our formula was designed with equity in mind, having an extra 10% to programs and impacted areas. these grants were well received. nearly 5000 were distributed all across our state. over 2000 centers and 3000 homes. grantees overwhelmingly reported that the grant met their needs and kept them afloat july through december. unfortunately, our childcare restoration funding was exhausted by december. providers told us they still need funding for their business to survive. their enrollment is still about 30% to 40% lower than before the pandemic, and they continue to suffer significant revenue shortfall. we plan to use most of the
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recent ccdbg funding to extend our grant program but the funding will not extend. without additional funding, we will have to get providers less than they need. we support the childcare funding and american rescue plan and we know that we will be able to put it to good use. the pandemic has shown how fragile our childcare system is because of how it is funded. as i mentioned, i also work on k-12. there have been huge financial implications of the pandemic there, too, but at least we were not worried that a large portion of our public pools will close their doors because of the financial shop. childcare is critical infrastructure for our economy and a crucial component of our education system. we need to fund it as such. we need a substantially longer, long term stable commitment to , funding high-quality early childhood education and care to ensure affordable access to every family that needs and wants it. i urge the subcommittee to support this critical investment
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in america's future. thank you. chairwoman delauro: thank you very much. to all of our witnesses, both sides of the aisle, this has been a stellar group of witnesses who have kept their remarks under five minutes. thank you all very much. we will move to questions. i have three questions that i would like to get into this first round. i will be brief, but i want to start start with you, ms. goldburn. how has low enrollment in childcare centers impacted day-to-day operations and childcare survival as a small business? you need to unmute. can someone unmute --
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>> i got it. we need at least 70 children just to break even. we have been languishing at around 45, 50 children each month. we are seeing about a $20,000 loss each month in our budget and i cannot tell you what that will mean for our programs. we are pretty close to exhausting all of our resources. for us, it is just creating a situation where it is a day to day wondering, which is the day we have to close down? chairwoman delauro: dr. hawley, how do you see efforts to stabilize and invest in childcare as investments in the broader labor workforce? why does congress need to step up and invest big so that we can do more in illinois, and so that
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other states can follow suit with the kind of program you put together in illinois? >> as the other witnesses attested to if parents don't , have a safe place for their child to be during the day, they are not able to go back to work. we heard, as i said, from all the industries in the state they , saw the importance of childcare as undergirding the economy, undergirding the employment, the ability of their employees to come to work. we know investing in childcare as a stable -- with a stable funding stream to keep it open, and keep it available with high quality for families is absolutely available. chairwoman delauro: let me also ask ms. boteach, the law center has published a report on the
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different ways states are trying to reach childcare providers, help them through the crisis through supplemental funding, but it is not enough. can you explain some of the things that states are doing that have been particularly effective, and how vital it is the congress pass the $40 billion in funding that is a part of president biden's american rescue plan? >> absolutely. as evidenced by dr. hawley, illinois is one of the state that is really taking the lead in terms of thinking about how to use the cares money and other money, but other states as well have thought about how they can give grants to childcare providers, so they can deal with the increased cost such as ppe, sanitation equipment, and the cost of substitute pools, when providers get sick. others have talked about how
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they make sure there is premium pay. childcare providers are front-line workers, they are risking their health, and in some cases their life, in order to serve frontline workers. being able to provide premium pay and things like that is important in order to retain the workforce. finally, some states have also been able to use the funding to help parents afford care, either by expanding eligibility or low cost. chairwoman delauro: let me just -- when it comes to workers deciding to return to work, how heavily is that decision based on childcare needs? do you have information on that? >> yes. there is not a survey that says, i left work because of childcare needs, but you can look at the data and you can figure out that, for example, in september, when there was a return to
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distance-learning, four times as many women as men dropped out of the labor force. an analysis of the latest bls data found 700,000 fewer parents with a child under five in the labor force than one year ago. these interruptions are not hitting mothers and fathers equally. as dr. hawley testified, hundreds of thousands of working parents will need affordable high-quality childcare before they can even begin to look for a job coming back as the economy , reopens. we know that once a parent exits the labor force, it is harder to enter it, which has long-standing consequences for women, all the way into retirement. chairwoman delauro: thank you. my time is expired. let me recognize the ranking member. >> thank you very much, madam chair. if i can, i will go to dr. stevens. no question this committee want
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s to provide additional support for the childcare industry. we have done that in the past and we recognize it is important. but part of the problem is figuring out exactly why someone left the workforce. we have a group of people that left not because of childcare needs, but because their jobs disappeared. that is true in the hospitality industry, the leisure industry, the travel industry. disproportionately lower income, disproportionately people of color. that is one group. then we had a group of people who clearly left because they didn't have childcare options. either because the centers that they sent their children to no longer had sufficient space or were going under financially. that is the second group. there is a third group that left because of childcare needs related to public school closures. i suspect, as you mentioned in your remarks and written testimony, that is a very large group. do we have any data that suggests what the proportions are?
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one of our problems as a subcommittee is where you target available funds. how much should go to which groups in order to help people return to the workplace while making sure their children have adequate care? >> thank you for the question. i think there is no doubt the current childcare crisis is caused by school closures. there was a university of chicago economist who did a study last spring using census data to analyze how many workers needed childcare to go to work, meaning children under age 14. that was their assumption. what they found is that 24 million workers, 15% of the
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workforce, have school-aged children, meaning they need to do something with their kids if the schools are closed. 17.5 million workers had children under age six. however, about 20% or 15% of those children are five-year-olds. they were economists. they were not thinking about the school system. those kids are actually school-aged kids, so they are affected by school closures. under half of children under age five are in childcare in the first place. and childcare has reopened, as nearly as we know -- no one has good data on this -- but it has reopened at a faster rate than schools have. at the time they did this study, less than 5% of the workforce requires childcare to go to work, child care for young children, while 15% of the
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workforce requires schools to go to work. i want to emphasize that i think the question that i and other witnesses have emphasized, in terms of the access to high-quality care of low income children, that is something that i know you are concerned about, i know something the committee has addressed, but if we are talking about the childcare crisis caused by the pandemic, the primary driver of that is the school closures. i think you are on mute. >> thank you very much. i want to stress again, our aim is to create an either/or situation, but what is the appropriate targeting of the resources we have. let me ask you a second question, which you touched on, talked about in your written testimony. that is the idea of really targeting our resources to
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families that need them. lower income families that need additional help. in my own case, my wife took a one-year maternity leave that lasted 12 years. we made the choice and she made a great sacrifice professionally we made a sacrifice financially , that that was what was best for our kids, but we had the ability to do that. a lot of families don't clearly. we are most concerned about people that literally don't have the resources to get the childcare they need. could you tell us about the kinds of options we should be considering to make sure we direct the dollars we have where they are most needed? that tends to be, i would think, lower income families, particularly single moms, situations like that. what are the kinds of programs that we have, that we should be beefing up, or additional programs that we should be considering? >> i only have a few seconds left. should i just answer? >> go ahead and answer and that will be my last one. >> i think all of the witnesses
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are experts on this. there are many children -- i think what needs to be done is there needs to be careful analysis of the data around ccdbg vouchers, subsidies, to identify the children who are in the low income, often single-parent. it is in our interest to have their subsidies high enough they can afford the kind of childcare that wealthy families pay for for their children. that to me is something worth focusing on. but that is a whole different topic and we need to be -- we need to look at the data that exists carefully to figure out who those children are. but i would say starting with the families, if we were simply
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to get those families into high-quality childcare, that would be a game changer, i think, for those families. chairwoman delauro: thank you. congresswoman ballard? congresswoman? i just saw you.
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>> thank you all so much for being here. what i want to find out are what are the long-term structural issues that bring us to this point once again. i share my personal story in the 70's, i needed childcare raising two small children as a single mom. i started college as a freshman and the line was so long, of the waiting list, i did not get them in childcare for two years until i was a junior. the cost then was so expensive. i barely could afford it. they know statistic better than i do because i had to sit them in class with me.
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i'm trying to understand the big picture in terms of why we are here still. i know for a fact i was going through the same thing that women are going through now especially women of color and low income women. secondly, let me hear what the undervaluing childcare work done by our women of color, what that means long-term in terms of maybe social security, in terms of stability of their families and what does it mean in terms of their life as we do not value their work by paying them a decent -- what a decent living wage should be. >> i can take a stab. i think the big structural argument we are talking about here. is that we treat childcare as a private responsibility.
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for every family to struggle with on their own and long-term structural sexism means women of color as providers and parents are struggling the most. in reality it's a public good. it is critical infrastructure for our economy. parents are playing -- paying unaffordable sums. they are earning poverty level -- level wages. we have a -- we have historically undervalued care work precisely because of who does it. i think it is a long history back to enslaved women, black women caring for the children of white landowners all the way up to essentially excluding care workers in the new deal program all the way up to talking about the ways in which we are not adequately supporting low income single moms. this is a long arc, a long
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history. when we come to this day and inflection point we finally see care of the women who are doing this. and i hope to make a different choice. >> anyone else can respond to that because it seems like we should also be looking at these structural issues. otherwise skim another 30 years. >> i would just like to add to what melissa said. all of that is true and i think if we continue to situate the child care industry in history of childcare than what's tough to understand on some of these issues. i also want to reference what catherine said as well. one of her concerns was that we
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are going to be institutionalized childcare. the problem for this country historically is we are very comfortable institutionalizing black and brown people in the prison system, that's not in the system that transports -- transfers her life for the better. >> anyone else. >> an interesting analogy here is thinking about transportation. people pay to get on the subway and we might get some subsidies for that to get a reduced fare card. what we are not looking at is that whole transportation system is by -- we recognize the cost of that system is more than anybody is actually able to pay on their own. with childcare we don't do that. we based on how much childcare
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costs and how much people are able to pay. it does not match up to the cost of providing really good high-quality care. we need an investment that undergirds the entire industry source there for all families and is able to provide the qualities children deserve. >> in the same way we are dealing with the airline industry, with we do that, we understand the problem and we respond and react. we do that for the industry and for the workers. that's not the case with childcare. it's true. congressman harris. sorry to take your time. you have plenty of time. there you go. >> thank you very much. thanks for the timely topic. a lot of the issues, some of the
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issues revolve around children having to be home from school. and we now know, we've always known it was safe for to be back in school. we have data for months and months of school systems that remained open. my first question is wooden getting us back into school mean also will relieve some of the burden on the childcare system. the second is if schools are not going to reopen, in order to get -- free up the ability of some of those parents who go to work, could we also offer school choice more broadly so you have a choice to send your child to a school that does remain open during the pandemic. >> i think this quite a lot of
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evidence that parent enthusiasm for school choice has been growing a lot during the pandemic. what you said is occurring. if we were to open schools, if more schools were open that would make it a norm is difference. and obviously to send the children -- that would also help -- that would also help. i ran a not-for-profit in new york city public schools. those two things, those will be hard to pull off in the timeframe we are talking about. the school choice issue is -- i think the pandemic has given a lot of momentum to that. but it is not something that can be done.
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knowing the new york city school system the way i do, i'm not sure -- i think this will be going on for quite a long time. there are wonderful organizations that do afterschool programs and if we were to give them some funding to expand school day programs, that might be a solution for especially a larger urban area, it may be a while before we see schools open. >> let me follow-up. in those urban areas, these afterschool programs, i would say would be to her because not only do we enable parents to work outside the home, but we also enhance the education of the children who are left furthest behind and have to
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honestly -- with the covid pandemic it's shown us the children who are furthest behind the beginning are much further behind the end. wouldn't this make sense as a way to make up for the time lost during covid? >> some of these not-for-profits ran summer schools where children receive more learning going to the summer schools that want regular schools than they did the whole year. i would be happy to send you the information on that. i think that would be a win-win for the kids and obviously for parents who need to go back to work. >> thank you for your testimony. i will yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you. let me recognize congressman poe
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can. >> thank you very much for that. this has been very helpful. you brought a lot of strong points together. i want to think her chairperson and others who've been strong advocates are childcare for years on the committee. i love the work that makes work possible down the line. in care infrastructure. we are talking about infrastructure. one of the things it was most surprising when you talked about 80% of the businesses remain closed right now and as someone who has been a small business person for over 30 years, that's hard to try and start that back up. do you have any recommendations of how congress could perhaps be helping in that way. restaurants have gone to take
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out can do that -- you cannot do that with childcare. when you look at the industries that make up for it, you don't have that here. a reboot could be more difficult without incentives. do you have thoughts on that? >> nothing hears poverty like money. we are poor, the industry is poor, we've been languishing in poverty for a long time. i want to clarify that 80% of programs are the ones that are. and so -- the argument for me is really very basic and simple. you are not going to stay open and operating if the margins are not correct. if you are not going to make a profit, than there is no point.
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for many years childcare providers have making a personal sacrifice. covid has push them beyond the brink where there is no money to keep this thing going. what we need is an immediate infusion of cash. we cannot continue to charge parents that they are not using. we don't have it in our personal accounts to do it. so the only place that can step in and fill the gap now. without the effort to ensure this room is a critical part of infrastructure. as a business person we do love children, we are educators. it is still a business and we continue -- we need money to continue to operate. >> we have a friend who isn't doing her business for younger children because of the current situation and having a big
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impact. i will never forget when i got stopped at a grocery store when the formal care act that implemented at provider crying saying thank you i can finally have health insurance for the first time. she never even had health care for herself until we had that in place. the other thing is we are caught in between this extremely low rates, difficult business and the cost of childcare for some makes it impossible for people to be able to take advantage of that. that's another part i'm curious on how you can recommend moving forward what we've learned through this pandemic. the importance of things like broadband, what have we learned about helping so that anyone who needs to be able to go to work has the ability to have their child in a childcare
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environment? is there anything we can take away from here? >> it strips away all of the barriers and regulations. i have an amazing commissioner who use the opportunity with the resources put into the industry to put in place systems and innovations we needed. one of the things in our network was just one of the 12 levels that the state was quickly able to ramp up to support. but they insured every single provider became a vendor and then they just made a check directly. every one of our providers reported a profit.
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every single provider heralded it as the biggest success of the pandemic. when we sat enviously looking at illinois, they paid their providers. if we had $25,000 a month, we would be able to remain open, keep all of our staff and be there. the federal government is the only entity that can step in do that. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you madam chair. thank you all. this is an issue i've been working on since before the pandemic. i have three little boys outside
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and my husband is snowing -- shoveling snow. we are sending them around to each other because there was no preschool this year. my seven-year-old is under e-learning and i don't know where the baby is. before this, introduced bipartisan bicameral legislation called the child workforce act which would authorize -- my district in my state we are childcare desert. we are the six most lacking in facilities and in providers. there's a pipeline issue. this physical space in the provider space. there's also how do you stay afloat. the ones we have. i think ms. stephen's comments are interesting as well. i look, as i have done roundtables and worked with our
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state, chamber affiliation. it has an impact on business and the economy at large. pre-pandemic, how do we fix this. we talk about training, what it takes to maintain those employees. a lot of them were honest with some of the challenges, whether it's a hike in minimum wage and the ability to stay open. this is not an easy problem to fix here. which is why i think some advocate for a federal system that's federally funded that federally institutionalizes. the one thing i really love our options is apparent. and i like the idea that we need to make sure that those who can afford options like in-home or a higher quality center, one that's more geared -- some kids
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with special needs. more wealthy families can do that. i would really be interested in seeing how we can bring that more in line with making sure it allows the equalization of working-class kids to their peers who parents make more money. i like them to have the choice. i also agree my kids are only young for a certain amount of time. my husband has stayed out of work because of -- for me to do this job. and to be home and i'm not in a pretend -- i'm a member of congress and we are on the thin line. i cannot imagine. i talked to working families in my district who are trying to piece it all together. we have to do something. i feel like this targets the middle income families who do
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not have the money to make it work and don't qualify for subsidies. that's the sweet spot. we have to recognize and i have real misgivings about institutionalized programs. the best years of your kids lives, you only get them -- maybe they pay attention until they are 12. but these are those special years where i want help and i need help but i also want to be their main source of learning and i want to help speak to who they are and so i want to be careful that we maintain choice in this. we maintain choice for families. if it means getting more money to families who have -- don't have choice we need to look at ways we do that. i'm concerned with the idea the federal government and a big federal program will do it best. the one thing of notice with the airlines and prisons and the roads is we've kind of screwed all that up.
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big time. i don't know that i want to do that with our kids. and maybe if you can speak to that and if there's time left i like to hear from you. >> i agree with your characterization of this. it's not clear -- i feel the definition of what problems we are trying to solve here is we are kind of all over the map with what problem you're trying to solve. so there's two questions. what the problem you're trying to solve and the question is what exactly is the nature of that problem and how to solve it and to some extent we are talking about different problems and different solutions to different problems. when -- what georgia was describing makes perfect sense to me. i think what she's describing is an important thing.
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i've read this legislation carefully, that's not what this legislation is aiming to do in my read of it. for example the child and dependent care tax credit are through the roof tax break for wealthy people. and i don't understand that. once all low income kids are in high quality childcare. that's a separate question. until that's happened i just don't understand why we would make that choice. >> what i'm going to do is since congresswoman you said if there was any time i would like to get ms. goldberg to very agree -- briefly comment. let's do that. >> i appreciate that. i think we're are trying to solve one problem and that problem is high-quality access
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to early for every single child regardless of the settings a parent chooses. we are culturally immersed to childcare centers. we have family members that take care of our children. my sister made that choice even though -- so we do not have equal access to federal funds to continue to offer the choices that families want. we are not asking to create an institutionalized system. we are asking for money to fund an early care and educational system that can be responsive to every single parent regardless of the option they choose. i do not want black and brown
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children to be in a system or the prison system that's going to produce really terrible outcomes for them especially the most critical time of their development. but if you starve the industry of money, programs will disappear. and what will be left. we are having these conversations because you have many advocates into a corner we have to advocate for the things we know we are going to get. only to live to survive another day to advocate for the things needed. and so if we finally start to invest in the early care and educational system were as a former teacher who came out of the educational system because i saw how it was harming black and brown children and enter the early care system and saw the
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benefit that black and brown children were getting from the program. if i had money to do more we could radically transform the lives of black and brown children. so that would be my response. >> thank you. i didn't get to him next. which you are on tap. let me now recognize congresswoman park. someone who is been deeply involved in the entire childcare debate and how we can address it. congresswoman clark. >> thank you so much. thank you for being such a champion. this has been a fantastic panel which is really getting to the core of how we are going to
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rebuild a more inclusive economy after this pandemic. thank you for the recognition childcare is infrastructure and really is the underpinnings for our economy. i wanted to continue to continue the conversation about choice and how we meet the needs of different families in different settings in different parts of the country and make sure everybody has access to affordable quality childcare. i don't think we can have that conversation without talking about who makes up the provider workforce. that this is also predominantly women. here in massachusetts, childcare providers are over 96% of them are women. and nationally about 40% of childcare providers are women of color. and i think it has a large part
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-- a large part of the explanation of why we see such low wages and benefits. so i wanted to ask you, what have you seen in your experience as a woman of color, how have you seen racial injustice permeate the childcare industry and what steps do you think we need to do to address it so that we maintain this choice in diversity? >> we could be here for 10 hours about this. >> we have three minutes to answer this. >> i'm going to paint this picture. the public schools which in connecticut are made up of 90% white maintain their salary,
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maintain benefits. and had no fear about whether or not they were going to be ill or their income or homes during this pandemic. the childcare industry on the other hand which are made up of almost 60% women. we are here begging for scraps. that's the difference of institutionalized racism. when you are white, your issues are heard and it's understood. when you are black, you are here begging for scraps for people to recognize. that is what has been going on for years in the early childhood education system. we have understood with this pandemic how we cannot continue
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to ignore the cries of the childcare advocate anymore because childcare is so interwoven in some any parts of our system. we are not going to be able to respond to this pandemic without a childcare industry. the reason why many parents are still able to keep their employment when schools shut down was because all of those children shifted in large part into the childcare industry. we have been there to respond even after we are here basically saying we need help, our issues and cries are unheard because of the workforce and it would not happen anywhere else. the united states spends less than .5% of its gdp on childcare. it's the only first world country that does that.
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when has that ever been a good thing. that only happens in industry that are predominated by poor, women and by women who are poor. >> thank you so much for that answer. i'd like you to in the brief, have left trying answer this. tie this to how much of our economy is based on the work of women and in particular, women of color. >> i think it is crucially important. airlines are looking at losses of nearly half of what childcare is experiencing. this problem is the lack of
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relief. targeting an industry where women are over 90% of the workforce and women of color are so disproportionately affected. i would say this predated the covid-19 crisis. inequities in the federal childcare system go back all the way to slavery in america. i think when you look today at the legacy of that, african-american parents, latino parents face the most barriers to affordable high quality childcare. african american and hispanic workers are more likely to be relegated to lower-level positions even within childcare programs. african-american early educators are typically paid less than their white peers. it is crucially important that we build and as we move forward that racial and gender equity is
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at the center of the system not as a sideshow. but something baked into every policy decision we make. >> i see congressman fleischman, let me recognize you, my apology for not strictly going in ciardi. connors and fleischman. >> thank you. it's great to be back on this wonderful subcommittee. this was one of the first subcommittees when i became a appropriate or that i had the privilege to serve on. i thank you. dr. stevens, some of my constituents have come to me and said remote learning is negatively impacting emotional
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and mental well-being of our students. they also claim it has the potential to stunt their academic growth. in my previous efforts on the subcommittee i've worked in conjunction with colleagues across the aisle and with outside stakeholders to provide education. opportunities to rural and low income communities have clearly been affected by this. many of these programs -- while teachers doing their best to adapt during these difficult times, there are some learning experiences that cannot be replicated virtually. a recent study shows 30% of all k-12 public school students live in homes without proper internet connections it without suitable devices for at-home learning. making the attempt to stimulate the hands-on stem experience
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even more difficult. my question is can you speak to some of the financial challenges disproportionately facing low income and rural families and how outdated and anecdotal evidence has -- as mentioned in your testimony impact the policy scene before us today. >> thank you for that question. i actually did a webinar a couple weeks ago on teachers and administrators on teaching in the pandemic. they talk about what was like to teach on video all day every day. it's very difficult for the teachers. they definitely the students there serving their describing, many children do not have the
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support and the technological resources at home to enable their effective participation in remote learning. the impact on emotional well-being is clear it's having a negative impact. because the schools are controlled by the state and local level, i'd really don't know -- i really do not know how quickly we will be able to address this problem nationally. if we are thinking about what we can do in the meantime, we continue to support states and localities opening schools, there are a couple -- england has launched a national tutoring program. there are a couple of states in the u.s. that have launched tutoring programs for kids.
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i think that is worth looking at. i think as i mentioned before looking at partners and figuring out how to bring after-school high quality after-school organizations on board, i think that makes sense to look at. and at the same time continuing to work with states and localities to figure out what they need to open. as you know, the federal government just does not have very much control over schools. so i think that is what -- looking at supporting other kinds of solutions may be also worthwhile. >> icf got under 40 seconds left and i know that a lot of folks asking -- wanting to ask questions. thank you. >> with that let me recognize
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congresswoman frankel. >> thank you everybody. i think i brought some common sense to this as a working mother. now i'm a working grandmother. i will say both as a working mother and grandmother i always look forward to the next time. -- naptime. taking care of children is a 24 hour job. it is not just 9-to-5. so with all due respect to one of the panelists comments, i think it is happy fulfilled parents that are best for children and hopefully we are not of the point where the government decides what makes a parent happy and fulfilled. the first question is what's public interest in having a good
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childcare system that is equitable. that is where heard a lot of reasons today including the well-being of children and the need for our economies, her parents to be able to get to work. i don't even think the issue is why we are having what we call a she-cession. whether they are out of work because they don't have daycare out of a job, we will get to a point where hopefully people have jobs and if the child care industry is decimated, they will not have childcare. and so i think this is a very important issue. i know brenda lawrence can confirm this, a democrat women's caucus will make childcare a top of our priority to make sure the industry is stable and fair.
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i also want to say this. childcare worker should not have to be on food stamps and i do want to ask this question in terms of the paper childcare workers, how does that impact the turnover for example and what are the specific suggestions on how we up the paper childcare workers. i want to say this. -- up the pay for childcare workers. what a magnet with my children. when you actually think about it , what's the road like? what's the bridge i have to go to get to work.
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childcare has to be part of infrastructure. with that i yield to someone about the low pay and the turnover. go ahead. >> i was going to say i can also speak to that. right now we childcare, on average, $12 per hour. over half need to turn to some form of public assistance for support to make ends meet. providers are having trouble making ends meet from a job, not only of a more stressed, not only are families more stressed but there's more turnover in the industry. they see a stable job as long-term growth for them. childcare workers are exhausted. they are sacrificing so much not only during the pandemic, during
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which they've been on the front lines. our economy on the shoulders for poverty wages. i think this pandemic has laid bare and it's exacerbated that. we have a choice going forward. we cannot do this without public investment. childcare and infrastructure. childcare is education. children's brain developed most quickly between zero to five. it's our interest to make sure they are in high quality settings. whether that's in the center. k-12 education, like roads and bridges, they've been investing in it or just investing in it. >> covid and childcare, can someone comment on that? >> we have found childcare
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providers are really great at infection control. it's part of the work a childcare provider does. we found children really are -- in a really well-run childcare center and are able to operate safely even in the pandemic. we have been proud of the way our providers have stepped up and implemented these guidelines and cap children in their care safe. >> i yield back madam chair. >> i think he may have had to leave. in the congresswoman has lost the internet connection and she is struggling at her and. if that can be redone we will
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get her in the mix. i've been told the congressman has had to leave as well as congressman harder. introducing at the outset. i will call and apologize to him for that. tom's inclined, you are recognized. >> mi coming through all right? >> you are indeed. >> thank you for holding this timely hearing. i'm honored to be joining the appropriations committee to ensure taxpayer dollars are allocated by congress with proper oversight and accountability. coming over from the house education and labor committee during the last congress, i'm proud to continue work on these support policy areas in labor hhs subcommittee. as we all know, covid-19 has
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significantly altered the daily life of millions of americans. it is clear most notably when it comes to childcare. we need to as we get the vaccine world out, we need to open up our economy, get folks back to work, get kids back to school. that is evidenced by the conversation happening over the course of this hearing has to happen in a specific order. it can just open up an economy and have folks go back to work if there was not availability for the kids to either go to school or have childcare available. different states after for an economic challenges. when it comes to childcare and schools reopening, what's going on in virginia right now is very different than what's going on in new york or connecticut or out in seattle, washington.
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my colleague was talking about childcare deserts. we have challenges in virginia, but because we have maintained a lower level of regulation on the childcare industry, it is not as challenging to start up a childcare business. it's not as challenging to operate a childcare business now. the state to state you will have different levels of regulation and they will create different challenges for the industry and for parents. for pricing, for options, or choices. dr. stevens has mentioned the solution to childcare may be more in line with school openings then with drastically increasing federal funding for a federal goal for childcare and while relief aid is important and appropriators must ensure it's going where it is and we should not head down a path that
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allocates taxpayers talk -- hard earned money to programs that want effectively relieve those devastating impact on our communities right now. as you mention, the childcare provision in the rescue plan appear less as a response to effect the pandemic but rather a massive scale up of government spending on non-parental care for young children. spending would bring the total spending to address this to almost $59 billion which is 1.7 times total public spending on early care and education. can you expand upon how this might have been determined, what factors may have led to any inaccuracies quite frankly in the need for it. >> thank you for that question. i think the problems that the other witnesses have been bringing up, georgia has been
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describing these problems. those are real problems. there's some different problem stitched together in their so you're talking about very low income black and brown people who have inadequate access to childcare and then you have much wealthier people who can pay, they would just rather not. there's a whole bunch of issues being squished together in this. not to say that they are not important, however they are stitched together issues that are not directly related to the pandemic. i also want to make one point, the bipartisan politics center did a fascinating survey of parents in december. one third of the women respondents said that their ideal childcare arrangement was to stay at home and raise their own child. one third.
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on the other hand, there is a big division in this by education and income. so among parents, men and women earning over $75,000 a year, 59% describe an out of home nonparental childcare as their ideal arrangement. among families who earn under $50,000, only a quarter say that. so this assumption that everyone's ideal is out of home childcare is just not true. and i think that something that we need to take a step back and decide on what the goals are or we are not to know what problem we are trying to solve. >> thank you for that question. i'm also glad to see my colleague found the baby. i yield back. >> she was totally safe. >> that's very good.
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[laughter] speaking of being back, congresswoman. go for it. >> thank you. let's see how long i can stay on. i represent the 40th congressional district of california and it's a district that is distinct for having the highest percentage of hispanic -- in the country. and when the highest number of immigrants. in 2019, a class publish a report about in equitable to childcare subsidies. in that report it stated access to childcare development block grants vary considerably by race and ethnicity. latino and asian children having the lowest rate of access
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nationally. it could further exacerbate the childcare subsidy access. here the demographics and the fact that on top of all latino children under age 13 are members of -- family. and they can find access to affordable childcare is a particular problem for constituents and other latino families. how do you propose these equitably to reach the most vulnerable families particularly in communities of color with her is historic underrepresentation. >> i want to note one in five childcare providers is an immigrant. so from the providers perspective as well, recent
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attacks on immigrants in the past administration or fear in communities have caused great stress on those the workforce understands. i really appreciate you drawing the connection between childcare policy and immigration policy more broadly. i think there is a need to do greater outreach by language for children with disabilities, underserved populations to make sure home-based childcare providers, a friend, family and neighbor providers that tend to be in areas with a preference of income black and brown families are getting access to the subsidies and access to the services that they provide. the challenge here is they continue to be so chronically underfunded that only one in seven children overall are getting access to a subsidy. i think it's important when we think about rebuilding systems
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to have it brought approach. we need to make sure there is adequate funding. that's why we are encouraging not just the relief, but also considering fy 22 appropriations to increase robust investments in the childcare develop and block grants. then once we have money and resources we also think about how you intentionally engage home based providers that maybe don't have the same information as other providers. so i think it's both. i do not want a world in which providers are scrambling for a crumb of a system that's been broken for so long. we have the resources to invest in the policies can make sure they are appropriately targeted. >> thank you.
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i think you've covered some of this but are there structural changes we need to address are l -- new for childcare? >> i think the main issue is the program has been so drastically underfunded that there is a very small percentage of children across the board that are getting childcare subsidies. latino children are again amongst the worst of the percentages getting the subsidies paid the main thing -- getting the subsidies. the main thing we can do is massively expand investment in our system more broadly. and within that to think about power we reaching out. culturally appropriate services, but we are making sure immigrant providers have access to the
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same system that every buddy else does. those are all steps we can take in the design programs but continue to be constrained until there is funding to do those things. >> thank you madam chair. i'm going to direct my question and my fellow illinois and -- illinoian. everyone around the country is this terrible problem with providers because of covid-19. the governor was kind enough to come to my district last year and stopped at a place you are probably familiar with. i'm a big fan of what they do to help our community. it is one of the larger childcare providers where i
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live. just to share a couple stats. they went from serving 1000 children prior to covid-19 to 50 back in march. thankfully they've moved closer to full capacity, but providers won't be able to be fully back to normal really until the vaccines are widely administered. so this impact has been so tough for childcare providers wondering if they will keep their doors open, of her parents wondering how they juggle their careers and families. so let me go on record saying i am proud of you and how you been able to use federal dollars to take this on directly. that's why you were invited here today to share your success. i want to ask you specifically how the illinois childcare
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restoration brand is helping those in illinois. go deeper on that. what do you see coming up next for the childcare restoration grant in order to meet the needs of the providers and our families and how are you looking to improve that program? >> our challenge with the childcare industry right now is probably there isn't enough childcare out there now for families going back to work. the challenge is the childcare providers out there are not getting enough revenue. they are dramatically under enrolled. that has to do with families who are working at home like we all are right now. it is not the families are not choosing to put their kids in childcare, but when we are able to open up our society and everyone can go back to work in a more normal setting, people
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will need somewhere to go. and the childcare centers have been financially ravaged by a lack of revenue for a year or more, they won't be there for families to be able to use. we need to keep it going. we used all the resources we could and really helped providers. but they still need that help and we -- the money we received in the last relief package won't even get us the end of six months in terms of providing the relief providers need in order to be able to keep their staff on board. they've worked so long. skip along is a great example of a case that's helped them get college degrees, the qualifications they need. we need to keep them engaged.
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we are planning to continue to invest in the restoration grant model, providing direct relief to providers. something we have not been able to do as much is the childcare workforce more and we want to do that with funding. some of our licensing providers we haven't been able to provide them relief looking at that and how we can support them. if you send the states the money we will find ways to use it well to support an industry we critically need. >> i would say to my colleagues at this hearing today that what they are doing really can be a model. i know that's why you invited her to be with us today, but i want to point that out if you are looking for a good model. i will follow-up with one other question. an interesting data point we see coming out of illinois is
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parents of the youngest children, under age one aren't returned to childcare. i'm wondering what you think is going on with that and what we can do to address it? >> i think the older children were in the childcare and the families were comfortable with it. when you think about going back it's a familiar place, even if there is nervousness about covid , it's a familiar place where they have that trust. if you've just had a baby in this sort of strange time, it's more nerve-racking. we know we will have to invest in outreach to parents to help them understand that it is safe for them to use the services, use the preschool services. we need to be able to invest and reach out to families in doing that parent engagement. >> i yield back. >> thank you.
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>> let me thank my colleague for having a discussion. it revealed institutional racism and about every access -- every aspect in our country. i'm concerned how this impacts our future and their families right now. i agree we are in a crisis situation and we need to lift up and protect this industry so we can get through this pandemic. i am concerned about how we repopulate the industry, to what extent are we giving direct subsidies to families to be able to afford to send their kids back into early childcare education because i also know there are families who are totally unemployed and to look
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for jobs and they need access to high-quality quality early childcare education. the evidence suggests early education is vitally important both for the economy and the future -- -- as it relates to our children. i'm interested in discussions we might have regarding the kinds of things the federal government ought to think about moving forward the on this pandemic. what is it we need to ensure the public good of early childhood education is supported, that those who are working in that industry are paid a fair wage and have access in terms of social security and other pension benefits and that those families who are financially challenged have access to the same high quality early childhood education. without, -- with that, i --
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anyone who would like to respond to that issue. that is my only question. >> thank you so much. it's a terrific question. the way i have been thinking about responding to it this year, is the patient that is in crisis. the first thing we need to do is stabilize the patient. that is the american rescue plan, making sure there is a childcare sector to come back to. this committee has an opportunity in the fy 22 appropriations process to really start with rehabilitation, so that means a dramatic increase in the childcare development block grant. i would also add another program like early head start and all those programs this committee has received as well.
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but focusing on childcare right now, the increases there will number one allow providers to send down relief money as strategically as possible if they are trying to get enough workers back in or how they will be there when the economy reopens. that is really important. to make sure the money is well spent as much is possible but also thinking about, ok, what have we learned during this crisis? we learn, and i keep saying it because it keeps bearing repeating, care is an infrastructure, care is a public good. if we are going to build that infrastructure, let's start with what the committee has control over. and then finally, i think we really need to think about, what is the long-term system -- what does the long-term system look like? you cannot really separate access, quality, accessibility.
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+all these things interact with each other. all of them are invested in children. when you invest in the childcare workforce, you are investing in children. so i think it is really important to think about long-term as building a system where parents have different kinds of settings that are culturally appropriate, high-quality, where providers are being paid a fair wage with benefits and career ladders, where you have supplies in a childcare desert where the populations that are underserved tend to be rural areas as well as communities of color. when you put those things together, you're asking for a robust investment over many years. the cost of that is nothing compared to the cost of inaction. because when we don't act, we are costing our economy $57 billion a year, according to ready nation. that was pre-pandemic. that number is growing. so we think about we can pay for
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this one of two ways. low wages, family suffering, businesses having retention issues, and a lot of stress and pain, or we can invest and have a pathway where we have a high quality childcare that is accessible for all. rep. coleman: i yield back. your answer was very comprehensive. i did not get a chance to hear from others, but thank you very much, and thank you madam chair. chairwoman delauro: thank you very much. congresswoman brenda lawrence. rep. lawrence: thank you so much, madam chair. i represent the city of detroit. and according to a recent report by the national women's law center, it concluded that six in 10 women of color are experiencing difficulty homeschooling, including a
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portion of the respondents describing insufficient childcare coverage. while predominantly black neighborhoods tend to have more childcare providers, my hometown of detroit is an outlier. it has a vast childcare desert. as our economy continues to recover, this can pose a major issue for many of my constituents. so my question is, dr. hawley, can you speak to how illinois has addressed childcare deserts, especially in communities of color? and what advice would you give to other states? and i just want to say in conjunction with my cochairs and lois frankel is here, we must end up in the infrastructure, social infrastructure to improve
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the quality of life and equality for women in america. and i feel strongly that this is one of them. when i speak passionately about the community of black women, we have so much to do. so what can you recommend to those communities that, you know, i would put my child in childcare if i could afford it, but i also want one of them in my community? dr. hawley: this question is an issue of childcare simply not being available in communities. it is so important for us to be looking at. in illinois, we have included early childhood education and care facilities in our state infrastructure plan. when we do the bill, we include $100 million dedicated to facilities for early childhood. we have done that because we know that there are so many communities around our state that simply don't have the facilities to be able to care
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for young children. it is the program, the programmatic money. we are going to be investing with our funding, investing in communities and helping communities do the planning they need to do to be able to open new settings and new programs for youngsters and families in the community. we have to adopt data systems that help the state identify where the needs are. we have to invest in the communities to do the planning that it takes to be able to open this. and we have to invest in the bricks and mortar to open a childcare center. it is not an easy thing to do. rep. lawrence: you drive a point that i and the women's caucus will be really pushing. the fact that illinois has invested in the infrastructure of childcare. we must improve the workforce. we must compensate that. but if we don't invest in the
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infrastructure of childcare, we won't achieve our goals for so many communities. lastly, i just want to ask dr. boteach, do you have any recommendations on how we can increase the labor workforce for childcare? i had a wonderful opportunity to travel to japan, and they have elevated childcare where you see young men choosing that as a career. first of all, it is compensated. second of all, it is a respected profession. can you speak to that? ms. boteach: absolutely. i think you hit the nail on the head. it is when you respect something. you don't expect they will hold up the entire economy on their shoulders without fear pay. and so i think crucial to this conversation about attracting but also retaining a workforce in childcare and early education is treating them like the educators they are.
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children's brains are developing at their fastest rate between zero and five. childcare is education. so when you treat childcare providers as the heroes that they are but pay them like the heroes they are with fair wages, benefits, taking serious their safety, in some states they have not been given the same rate as teachers. what does that say? they are open. they are operating out, putting their lives and help on the line. in some states, we are not in the top of the pack to get a vaccine. so when we start respecting this profession, when we start paying fair wages, benefits and having career pathways, you will see a lot more people coming into the profession and staying there because every childcare provider i know loves kids. they love that job. but they are also deeply exhausted.
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and so i think that we need to show them that respect. rep. lawrence: thank you, and i yield back. chairwoman delauro: thank you very much. it is after 12:00. we are not going to be able to get to a second round. but this has been an enormously, really very productive -- the richness of the content and the contribution by all of our panelists today and they very substantive questions and concerns that are demonstrated by members to you, dr. stevens, to dr. hawley, to georgia, and melissa. thank you so, so much for what you bring to the debate. even if there are, you know,
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differences, the ability for us to examine this issue and all of its pieces i think is critical for all of us. i will ask congressman cole to make closing remarks and we would bring the hearing to a close. rep. cole: thank you, madam chair. i want to associate myself with your remarks. very appreciative of all our witnesses and their perspectives. very informative testimony. it seems to me the challenge we will have is targeting this. i don't think there is a big debate that we need additional assistance in this area from the childcare industry. there is obviously what is the right mix for getting our schools reopened, making sure there is quality. finally, we did not talk about
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this too much, but a piece of this to me is homeschooling or making parents that want to be able to stay at home, something ms. stevens talked about. and the different socioeconomic groups, how they view that. we did not really get into that, but that is an important thing for us to consider as well. i thought my friend and our colleague miss butler made a good point talking about options. how do we create options so parents can actually do what they think is best for their children? a not to be limited by circumstances -- children and not to be limited by circumstances? i know we will be facing the questions in the weeks and months ahead. there is not enough resources. that makes targeting important. i want to thank you for the hearing. it is a really important topic,
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and i want to thank our witnesses and certainly want to thank our members. i think you can tell by how engaged everybody was this is a real life issue for all of us because we hear about at the grocery store or at church or at the civic club. this is very much on the minds of the people that we represent. again, thanks to you and thanks to our witnesses for giving us a really spirited discussion and i think a good look at a really important problem. i yield back. chairwoman delauro: i want to thank the ranking member for his comments. and if i might, please, i just want to -- what i view as what we lift out of this very, very rich discussion, covid-19 did not create the childcare crisis. it exacerbated it and it exposed a racial disparity with regards to providers, with workers, and
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to families. childcare providers were already operating on razor thin margins. early childhood educators themselves were making so little that newly have to accept public benefits. and the family living in low income circumstances struggle and are still struggling to gain access to affordable high-quality care. i think the framework of childcare infrastructure, of the industry's infrastructure is a critical message. and i just want to make a point here that $60 billion for the airline industry, we believed it was necessary. we voted for it for our economy to survive. corporations have received $522 billion for ppp loans. that was critically important.
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we provide infrastructure, especially in these crises, for agriculture, for the auto industry, for wall street and the banking industry, for housing and mortgages for families, and when these industries are in trouble, we act. the congress moved. and in a very big way, in real time. and yet, because of what has been said about undervaluing childcare and undervaluing the women who provide it and the workers who provide it, that is where we need to move. to take this undervalued and
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under respected industry and place it where it needs to be, at the center of our economy. childcare -- this is what melissa told us -- is the work that makes all other work possible. it therefore needs to be at the center of what we are trying to do. and the economy is not going to be covered until childcare is back -- going to recover until childcare is back and better. whatever form it manifests itself, providing families with the choice they need. and as lawmakers, we need to recognize that childcare is essential and it needs to be funded in that way. so it is -- it just -- you have demonstrated really across the
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board -- you know, we looked at, and i will just say this, not that long ago, on the fringes, we talked about paid family and medical leave. that it was too far overstretched. today, it is at the center of public discourse. we talked about equal pay for equal work for women on the fringes not that long ago. now central to how we move forward. right now, the revenue and the resources and the childcare industry needs to have that central place in our discussions as we move forward. and again, i just thank you all very, very much for your being here today, for shining the
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light on this, and you can tell, and i say this to georgia, dr. stevens, dr. hawley, melissa, the women and the men who are on this call today, understand that nature of what we need to do. you have heard from them. and you know you have allies within the congress to allow us to move forward. so i thank you very, very much. i also will beg your indulgence for one more moment. final note. i want to do this. it is fitting that the hearing is on childcare, but it is the last hearing for a woman who had been devoted to this issue and my chief of staff, letty mederos. she leaves today to embark on a well earned retirement, though i cannot imagine letty mederos retiring to get she has been a leader of the team for 12 years.
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real results, not only connecticut, but for the country and for families, and early childhood and labor policies have been at the center of her work. started on capitol hill in 1998, leading labor policy experts, raising the minimum wage, equal pay, paid sick leave, sick days. these are the areas she has been a champion of. labor director for the house work committee. labor director on the senate health committee under patty before coming back as chief of staff. she grew up in cuba. she came to the united states. she has fallen in love with the american west. we will miss her. i thank her for her dedication to public service, wish her well. i cannot imagine her retiring, and personally come i will deeply miss her, just her ability.
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not just her ability, but her friendship and the closeness of our relationship. i wanted to give her so much credit as we leave and this is her last hearing, so thank you all again very much. i will bang on the table. this hearing is concluded. thank you. >> today, the house budget committee will debate a $1.9 trillion covid-19 really ill. the package includes an
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extension of unemployment benefits. watch live coverage at 1 p.m. eastern >> congress is back with a busy agenda. major business in the house was the 1.9 trillion dollar covid really package which includes an extension of unemployment benefits, a minimum wage hike, additional funding or individual stimulus checks and help for state and local governments. more action could begin as early as thursday in a final vote is possible friday or over the weekend. democratic leaders aim to have the bill on the president's desk before march 14 which is when current unemployment benefits expire. the senate spends the early part of the week on cabot nominations. today and tuesday, they vote on the nominations of linda thomas-greenfield to be ambassador to the united nations and tom vilsack to be agriculture secretary. the


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