(Washington, D.C.) – Duringmedia interviews across Washington state last week, U.S. Senator Patty Murray emphasized the importance of strengthening federal funding for child care and education in forthcoming coronavirus relief legislation, and reiterated her call for a national plan to widely distribute a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. On Tuesday, Senator Murray sat for an exclusive interview with Crosscut’s managing editor Mark Baumgarten for their Crosscut Talks podcast series, during which Senator Murray shared her thoughts on how schools can safely reopen and highlighted her efforts in Congress to help schools, communities, and more respond to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Later in the week, Senator Murray held a roundtable with child care providers and parents in Washington state on the deepening child care crisis across the nation and the need to address long-existing inequities that have adversely impacted the ability of Black families and other families of color to access high-quality, affordable child care. During that conversation, Senator Murray highlighted her Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act, which would provide $430 billion to ensure child care providers, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities have the resources and support necessary to responsibly reopen and keep people safe, as well as provide quality services to children and students across the country. Senator Murray also stressed the importance of a national plan to ensure free and widespread distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine in an interview with KUOW.
See below for a full roundup of coverage:
“We cannot look at education as we did a year and a half ago. We have to look at it as a public health situation that we need to make sure that our kids, and our faculty, and our staff, and everyone who is there is safe and healthy so we don’t spread the virus and so we don’t continue to have to deal personally with it or economically with it. So we have to do this right, and it is not free, cheap, easy to do it.” Senator Murray said. 07/17/20
“Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) said the COVID-19 pandemic is making the child care crisis worse. She wants to pass the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act to address the problem…On Thursday, the senator hosted a conference call with childcare providers, like Luc Jasmin from Spoane.” 07/16/20
“U.S. Senator Patty Murray of Washington is pushing for tens of billions of dollars for child care in the next stimulus package. She said the child care industry is crucial to reopening the economy, but that it was already in crisis before the coronavirus hit and now child care providers are even worse off.”
“Without adequate support, child care businesses owned by people of color will disappear and thousands of educators will be without work” Murray said. 07/16/20
“If the federal government does not step up and provide support, we are at risk of losing 4.5 million child care spots nationwide, including over 42,000 right here in Washington state,” Murray said. “That means front-line workers won’t be able to access the child care they need to be able to go to work, and families won’t have child care to return to as our communities try to reopen.” 07/16/20
Murray’s bill includes $50 billion for grants that child care providers can use to help pay their staff, provide tuition and co-payment relief for families, and to promote health and safety measures. Money from the bill would follow on $3.5 billion in aid for child care and early learning centers that was part of the CARES Act. 07/17/20
“To me, the most important thing, is that [a vaccine] is free…I’m going to keep pressing for that because, we all want this virus to stop, we all want to go back to normal, and the best way for that to happen is to have a vaccine that is safe and broadly used.”
“We need a national plan. This cannot be just up to a local community leader or a Governor. They don’t have the supply chains, they don’t have the capability to make sure they get what they need, and the distribution ability.” Said Senator Murray 07/16/20
If the child care crisis goes unaddressed, the United States risks losing 4.5 million child care slots—including 42,000 in Washington state—and losing 1.9 million education jobs, which will exacerbate students’ learning loss, cause more higher education students to drop out due to economic struggles, and widen disparities that harm Black students and other students of color. To that end, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Senator Murray has consistently worked to get students, child care providers, K-12 schools, and institutions of higher education, especially our nation’s HBCUs, tribal colleges, and minority-serving institutions, the resources and support they need to get through this pandemic, including securing more than $30 billion for K-12 schools and higher education, and $3.5 billion for child care in COVID-19 relief legislation in March.