WASHINGTON- Many parents will spend as much on child care for their toddlers as they will for college tuition for their teens.
Some lawmakers are looking in to what Congress can do to help families cope. “This is not the 1930s,” said single mom Angelica Gonzalez of Seattle, Washington.
Gonzalez, a single mother of three, told members of Congress times have changed… but the childcare system hasn’t caught up.
“Staying at home is often not an option, even for two-parent households,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said on her journey to becoming a law clerk, she lost jobs and housing due to issues with daycare costs.
“If I had access to quality and affordable childcare from the start, my career and my kids’ lives would have looked very different,” Gonzalez said.
Connecticut Congresswoman Jahana Hayes was a teacher before she came to Congress.
She says she saw firsthand how important quality daycare is.
“You could tell which students even at the high school level were enrolled in early childhood education programs,” said Hayes.
A childcare provider from Oakland, California, Nancy Harvey, told lawmakers it’s hard to maintain quality daycare when most caregivers make minimum wage.
“We are actually keeping America working, but yet ourselves, we fall short and are struggling to pay our own bills,” said Harvey.
Democrats say they came up with a solution in 2017 legislation that would cap what families pay for childcare based on their income. It would also align the salaries of childcare workers with elementary school teachers.
“Everyone is going to need help. You cannot have a daycare system without subsidies,” said U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia.
Scott said the bill has been gaining bipartisan support, but Republicans like North Carolina’s Virginia Foxx have reservations.
“We need to take a comprehensive look at how we’re using hardworking taxpayer funds to support the programs,” said Foxx.
Foxx wants to make sure the childcare system doesn’t waste federal tax dollars.