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Senators Hassan, Shaheen, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Increase Access to Affordable Child Care

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee, and Jeanne Shaheen joined in reintroducing the Child Care for Working Families Act, which addresses challenges that many families face in finding affordable child care, including by capping child care costs at 7 percent of a family’s income, expanding access to preschool programs, and increasing wages for early childhood workers.

“Parents in New Hampshire and across the United States are facing tremendous difficulties in finding and affording consistent, affordable, high-quality child care. This bill takes important steps to remove the barriers that families face in accessing child care, including by bringing down costs. I will continue to work to find ways to better support families and child care workers, which will help ensure that all children can receive the early childhood education that they need to thrive,” said Senator Hassan.

“Access to reliable and affordable child care is essential for families, small businesses and communities. As the child care sector faces closed classrooms and families struggle to find care that meets their needs, we must address the root causes of the issue,” said Senator Shaheen. “The child care system is in need of transformational change. The Child Care for Working Families Act makes needed investments in our economy and our future by raising wages for child care employees and lowering the cost of their services for families. I’m proud to support this important legislation and I will keep fighting for policies that lift up working families.”

Senator Hassan is working across the aisle to support families in New Hampshire. For instance, the year-end government funding bill that is now law included a measure that Senator Hassan pushed for to increase funding for Child Care and Development Block grants to expand affordable childcare to more families. Additionally, she and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) recently introduced the bipartisan Healthy Moms and Babies Act to strengthen health care for women before, after, and during childbirth, as well as their infants. Senator Hassan also recently joined Senator Todd Young (R-IN) in introducing a bipartisan bill to improve access to affordable child care for families with parents working nontraditional hours

In the Senate, Shaheen has been a champion for funding to support child care and early education. Earlier this year, Shaheen joined U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) in reintroducing the Childcare Workforce and Facilities Act to address the national shortage of affordable, quality child care, especially in rural communities. In the government funding bill for fiscal year (FY) 2023, Senator Shaheen worked to include a $1.86 billion increase to $8.02 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants to states, as well as a $960 million increase to Head Start, funding the program at nearly $12 billion for FY 2023. The new law additionally includes an increase of $25 million to $315 million for Preschool Development Grants. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she led efforts in Congress to assist the child care sector. In the emergency COVID-19 relief legislation that passed Congress and was signed into law in 2020 and the American Rescue Plan, Shaheen successfully included language that provided $50 billion in urgently needed support for child care.