Warren introduces universal child care legislation

Warren introduces universal child care legislation
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll Warren avoids attacks while building momentum Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Deb HaalandDebra HaalandOvernight Energy: Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe waiver | Move comes as Trump visits state | California prepares for court fight | Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges lawmakers to listen to scientists Coalition of farmers and ranchers endorses Green New Deal Lawmakers beat reporters in annual spelling bee competition 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 BookerIowa GOP swipes at 2020 Democrats' meat positions as candidates attend annual Steak Fry Booker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding 2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum MORE (D-N.J.) — like Warren, a 2020 White House hopeful — and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week Bipartisan group of senators urges FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes MORE (D-Ore.) and Democratic Reps. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Overnight Health Care: Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program absent court action | Democrats demand Trump withdraw rule on transgender health | Cummings, Sanders investigate three drug companies for 'obstructing' probe MORE (Calif.), Mark PocanMark William PocanDemocrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt Omar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (Wis.), Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats bicker over strategy on impeachment Overnight Defense: Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran | Hostage negotiator chosen for national security adviser | Senate Dems block funding bill | Documents show Pentagon spent at least 4K at Trump's Scotland resort Top Oversight Democrat demands immigration brass testify MORE (Md.), John Larson John Barry LarsonWhy young people should support expanding Social Security Trump's latest plan to undermine Social Security The Social Security 2100 Act is critical for millennials and small business owners MORE (Conn.), Grace MengGrace MengHillicon Valley: Ocasio-Cortez clashes with former Dem senator over gig worker bill | Software engineer indicted over Capital One breach | Lawmakers push Amazon to remove unsafe products Lawmakers call on Amazon to safeguard against unsafe products Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator MORE (N.Y.) and Stephen Horsford (Nev.), as well as Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonDC statehood push faces long odds despite record support Democrat accuses GOP of opposing DC statehood because of 'race and partisanship' DC statehood will give representation to city residents and rectify a deep injustice 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.