During the call, Senators Murray and Wyden stressed the need for major investments in parents and families as they help author Democrats’ Build Back Better budget, including investments in affordable child care, a comprehensive national paid leave program, and a permanent expansion of the child tax credit
***WATCH VIDEO OF THE EVENT HERE***
(Vancouver, WA) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, held a roundtable with parents, advocates, and small business owners from Vancouver and Portland to discuss the urgent need for landmark investments in children and families through Democrats’ Build Back Better budget.
During the call, the senators and other participants underscored how investments in child care, the Child Tax Credit, and paid leave stand to greatly benefit working families and working moms, and ensure that small businesses have the workers and talent they need to thrive.
“Right now, we’ve got a historic opportunity with the Build Back Better budget to deliver for working families in ways that will put money back in their pockets, help people get back to work, and support our small businesses,” said Senator Murray. “Three of the most important ways to make sure our economy works for working families are affordable, quality child care national, comprehensive paid leave, and a permanent expanded Child Tax Credit. We are talking about a once-in-a-generation investment in kids and families—the largest since the New Deal—that will finally level the playing field for working people. And we can do it all by just making sure the wealthiest individuals and the largest corporations finally pay their fair share.”
“So many families in Oregon are walking an economic tightrope, balancing soaring child care costs — often without paid leave — while trying to make rent, buy groceries, cover medical bills and other basics,” Senator Wyden said. “That’s why Senator Murray and I are working so hard on legislation that includes key building blocks to cement a solid foundation for working families of paid family leave, quality child care and extending the expanded child tax credit.”
A former pre-school teacher, Senator Murray has championed the need for continued investments in children and families. In April, Senator Murray reintroduced her Child Care for Working Families Act, which Senator Wyden is a cosponsor of and the child care provisions in the Build Back Better budget are modeled after. Senator Murray is working to include provisions from the legislation that would finally establish a child care infrastructure, ensure access to high-quality, affordable child care for working families, and improve wages for child care workers in the Build Back Better budget.
As chairs of the Senate HELP and Finance Committees respectively, Senators Murray and Wyden have worked closely together to include universal paid leave in the Build Back Better Budget, so workers don’t have to choose between caring for themselves and their families, or the paycheck they need.
Senators Murray and Wyden have also repeatedly stressed the importance of making the expanded Child Tax Credit, which in just one month lifted 3 million children out of poverty and generated nearly $19.3 billion of additional spending in local economies, permanent.
“The challenge of finding care in a ‘child care desert,’ the magic of timing that coveted open spot with your reentry to the workforce, and being able to afford that care creates a very heavy burden on moms like myself, families like mine, businesses, and ultimately our economy. To ensure women can get back to work, stay in the workforce, and have equitable access to future opportunities, we need to invest in child care and make the Child Tax Credit permanent, paid family and medical leave universal, and expand home- and community-based care options. Families in this country have struggled without these essential policies for too long. I hope our elected leaders will stand up for families by passing the Build Back Better package. Care really can’t wait,” said Wendy Niculescu, MomsRising member and Portland mom.
“I was lucky enough to stay home with my kids when they were young. And while I loved the opportunity it was an eight year financial struggle that we chose because I wanted to be with my kids, but also because of outrageous childcare costs. As a childcare provider at a local school campus I can speak to the great need. We serve a single campus but have parents that work in health care, are professors at our local universities, parents that are plumbers and postal workers—firefighters with varied weekly schedules and 24 hour days,” said Heather Lindberg, Vancouver Mom. “I love being there now to provide support for single parents with no other options. But we are currently at capacity and get calls daily asking when our schedule will be opening up new spots. We need great roads and bridges to help America get back to work, but without safe, reliable, high quality and available childcare there will always be a roadblock to contend with.”
“Child care is a cornerstone in our infrastructure and economy. Without a stable, sustainable, accessible and affordable child care system our communities will struggle to recover economically from this pandemic. Employees cannot return to work without access to child care,” said Jodi Wall, Executive Director of Early Care and Education at Educational Service District 112. “Ongoing funding is needed to bring child care teachers out of poverty, give our children high-quality early brain development opportunities, and enable all working parents to go back to work. Without robust federal investment in early care and education our communities will continue to suffer now and long after the pandemic is over.”
“Paid Family and Medical Leave and Childcare investments are critical to stabilizing our economy. My small business and our employees need them to truly recover from the ongoing pandemic. And to pay for it, the large corporations and wealthy need to pay their fair share. Enough is enough, it’s time to truly Build Back Better,” said Peter Emerson, owner of Bipartisan Cafe in Portland.