House opens day care center in hopes of better retaining Capitol Hill staffers

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The House of Representatives will open a day care facility this week in an effort to better retain staffers on the Hill who have children.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — who will soon take over as House minority leader — helped secure more than $12 million in taxpayer funds for the new 26,000 square-foot facility, NPR reported Tuesday.

{mosads}The day care’s first phase will open this week and will provide care for up to 120 infants and toddlers. Next year, a preschool will be added to host 122 students.

McCarthy said his goal was to help retain highly qualified staff who work for the House, since the Senate operates its own day care facility, the outlet noted.

“If somebody is working for you and wants to continue to serve government, but says ‘I don’t have day care so I can’t stay here, the wait list is too long, the quality is not there,’ then you are disadvantaging who can actually serve and work in government at the same time,” he told NPR.

The House day care’s expansion will help reduce its waiting list time from three years to one, according to NPR. 

“I never made it off the list,” said Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash). “I had to keep looking like everyone else does. You get on a list, you hope it works, and if it doesn’t work you’ve got to make something happen.”

Herrera Beutler, NPR noted, is one of 10 lawmakers total who have given birth during their tenure in Congress. The congresswoman said child care concerns often dissuade women from running for office — but she hopes offering child care can help encourage more women to run.

“The message is: You can make this work. For the good of the country and for the good of your family. And so I feel like the day care facility was just another opportunity to give that option so that we get more women — so we are going to be more representative of the American people,” she told the outlet.

Washington, D.C., ranks as one of the most expensive places in the country for child care. The House day care costs between $1,100 and $1,700 a month. 

Two male lawmakers currently have children enrolled in the House day care, according to NPR.

Tags childcare House Jaime Herrera Beutler Kevin McCarthy Kevin McCarthy
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