Warren introduces universal child care legislation

Warren introduces universal child care legislation
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Biden leads 2020 Democratic field by 15 points, followed by Sanders and Warren Warren introduces bill to cancel student loan debt for millions Democrats, advocacy groups urge Pompeo to abolish new 'unalienable rights' commission MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Deb HaalandDebra HaalandRep. Haaland says Trump's 'go back' remarks 'perplexing and wrongheaded' to Native Americans Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Snoop Dogg says US women's soccer team deserves same pay as 'sorry ass' men's team 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 Anthony BookerBooker takes swipe at Biden criminal justice reform plan Democrats, advocacy groups urge Pompeo to abolish new 'unalienable rights' commission Biden announces plan to counteract mass incarceration MORE (D-N.J.) — like Warren, a 2020 White House hopeful — and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations MORE (D-Ore.) and Democratic Reps. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Congress, stop ducking war-declaration authority on Iran MORE (Calif.), Mark PocanMark William PocanHouse Democrats delete tweets attacking each other, pledge to unify The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (Wis.), Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinBig Tech has big credibility gap Democrats look to capitalize on turmoil inside NRA Two Democrats vow to press forward on Trump impeachment MORE (Md.), John Larson John Barry LarsonWarren introduces universal child care legislation Unchain seniors from chained inflation index A tax increase is simply not the answer to fund Social Security MORE (Conn.), Grace MengGrace MengHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Katherine Clark quietly eyes leadership ascent Warren introduces universal child care legislation MORE (N.Y.) and Stephen Horsford (Nev.), as well as Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonMajority of Americans opposes DC statehood: poll DC statehood hearing rescheduled to make room for Mueller testimony DC mayor: Trump's July 4 celebration 'depleted' security fund 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.