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Warren introduces universal child care legislation

Warren introduces universal child care legislation
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSchwarzenegger says he would 'absolutely' help Biden administration Disney chair says he would consider job in Biden administration if asked Despite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Deb HaalandDebra HaalandHispanic caucus unhappy with transition team treatment of Lujan Grisham OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump admin to sell oil leases at Arctic wildlife refuge before Biden takes office |Trump administration approves controversial oil testing method in Gulf of Mexico | Rep. Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel Progressives urge Haaland for Interior as short list grows MORE (D-N.M.) introduced legislation Tuesday that would use federal funds to establish universal child care. 

The Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act seeks to combat the rise of rising child care costs in the face of stagnated wages with a focus on low-income families. The bicameral bill is cosponsored by Sens. Cory BookerCory BookerJudge whose son was killed by gunman: 'Federal judiciary is under attack' Biden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Policy center calls for new lawmakers to make diverse hires MORE (D-N.J.) — like Warren, a 2020 White House hopeful — and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats introduce legislation to strike slavery exception in 13th Amendment Overnight Defense: Defense bill among Congress's year-end scramble | Iranian scientist's assassination adds hurdles to Biden's plan on nuclear deal | Navy scrapping USS Bonhomme Richard after fire Supreme Court declines to hear case challenging unlimited super PAC fundraising MORE (D-Ore.) and Democratic Reps. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeFeinstein pushes for California secretary of state to replace Harris in Senate Battle for Pentagon post in Biden Cabinet heats up Louisville mayor declares racism a public health crisis MORE (Calif.), Mark PocanMark William PocanBattle for Pentagon post in Biden Cabinet heats up Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview Katherine Clark secures No. 4 leadership spot for House Democrats MORE (Wis.), Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats debate fate of Trump probes if Biden wins Congress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act COVID-19 and the problem of presidential succession MORE (Md.), John Larson John Barry LarsonCOVID-19 damage to Social Security to extend beyond pandemic It's time for a grand agreement on Social Security What we need to do next to defeat COVID and unify the country MORE (Conn.), Grace MengGrace MengDemocrats see spike in turnout among Asian American, Pacific Islander voters Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Katherine Clark secures No. 4 leadership spot for House Democrats MORE (N.Y.) and Stephen Horsford (Nev.), as well as Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonRecord number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 Lawmakers say infrastructure efforts are falling victim to deepening partisan divide The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states MORE (D-D.C.).

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“As the wealthiest country in the world, access to affordable and high-quality child care and early education should be a right for all families rather than a privilege for only the rich,” Warren said in a statement. “Our legislation would give all parents the opportunity to choose the right child care and early learning opportunities for their kids.” 

“Childcare and early learning should not be a luxury that only people with money have access to, but right now that’s the status quo in this country,” Haaland echoed. “If we’re going to get serious about ending the cycle of poverty in New Mexico and the entire country, we need to invest in universal childcare and early learning.” 

The bill would mandate an unquantified federal investment to establish and support a network of locally-run Child Care and Early Learning Centers and Family Child Care Homes to ensure that every family can access affordable child care options from birth to school entry. It also provides free child care to families below 200 percent of the poverty line, while families with higher incomes would pay a subsidized fee on a sliding scale based on their income.

The network of Centers and Family Child Care Homes would provide pre-K education and offer mental and physical health, dental, and other services to children who need them.

The legislation also mandates that wages and benefits for child care workers be comparable to those of local public school teachers and that investments are made in worker training and professional development.

Warren and Haaland touted the endorsements of several national advocacy and social justice organizations.

“I applaud the work by Senator Warren and Representative Haaland to ensure that every child, regardless of background or social status, has equal access to the high-quality, affordable child care and education opportunities that lay the foundation for our children’s success in school and in life,” said Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association. 

Warren and Haaland noted that the introduction comes after the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranked New Mexico, Haaland’s home state, 50th in overall child wellbeing.

Warren has enjoyed a boost in 2020 primary polls after unveiling a slate of detailed policy proposals, largely focused on economic issues.