Congress Crosses the Aisle on Child Care
As debate over the debt ceiling continues to divide Capitol Hill, a small subset of bipartisan lawmakers are quietly banding together on a different issue: child care.
Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) are preparing to launch the Congressional Bipartisan Affordable Childcare Caucus, they tell Women Rule. Their hope: to excavate a shared path forward on making child care more affordable after Democrats slashed related provisions from their party-line spending package last year.
“The goal is to find areas of common ground — that are pro-family, that are pro-working-class-Americans — and see how we can shape legislation that can get broad support,” Khanna told Women Rule.
But that’s not all.
“Additionally, we recognize the burdensome bureaucratic red tape and barriers which limit access in the child care industry,” Mace told Women Rule. “The caucus will work tirelessly to reduce unnecessary regulations and streamline processes.”
A third priority? “Flexible degree and training requirements, empowering more individuals to pursue careers in the child care field,” Mace said.
The average price of child care in 2022 was $10,853 annually, according to a recent analysis by Child Care Aware of America, a nonprofit network of child care agencies. And there is some evidence that number could be much higher in 2023: Child care costs went up by 6.8 percent annually in March, per the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, compared to 5 percent for inflation overall.
Khanna said he signed on to the push at the urging of Moms First, a nonprofit that advocates for care policies. The group has “been really keen on having a caucus which is bipartisan, with people who can actually move legislation,” he said.