News Releases

On the heels of new national report on rising child care costs, Senator Murray highlights her bill that would improve access to high-quality, affordable child care and early learning

New Report: Child care has become more unaffordable in the past year; represents one of the most significant budget items for families.

ICYMI: Senator Murray introduces bold, comprehensive child care and early learning bill to bring down costs of child care in Washington state and across the country

Seattle Times: “Sen. Patty Murray wants to fix what experts call ‘enormous inequalities’ in child care”

(Washington, D.C.) –  Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate education committee, underlined the urgent need for increased investments in child care and early learning programs for low-income and middle class families, following the release of a new report highlighting the national trend of rising costs for child care. According to the new report from Child Care Aware® of America, child care has become more unaffordable in the past year, forcing many parents to pay more than they can afford for child care. In Washington state, the report found that single parents pay over half of their income for infant center care and over 90 percent of their income for center care for two children; the report also found that the annual cost of infant care in a center in Washington state was $13,742, more than the cost of tuition and fees at an in-state public college.

Speaking to hundreds of child care and early learning advocates during a briefing on the new report, Senator Murray outlined the current child care crisis in Washington state and nationwide, and urged participants to continue pushing for increased federal investments to make child care more affordable and higher quality for working families. In her remarks, Senator Murray also provided an update on her bill, the Child Care for Working Families Act, that would help working families afford child care, expand access to high-quality preschool for low-income and middle class families, and improve compensation and training for the child care workforce. Last October, Senator Murray unveiled the bill in Washington state and toured child care centers in Redmond, Tacoma, and Sequim to meet with parents, teachers, child care practitioners, and advocates about the challenges Washington state families face trying to access high-quality child care and early learning.  

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:

First I want to thank you all for your work fighting for high-quality affordable early learning and care in your communities and on a national level.

I also want to thank Child Care Aware for releasing their report…

…highlighting the child care crisis we are facing in our country, and what steps we should be taking to ensure no family has to pay more than they can afford on high-quality early learning and care.

As many of you know, I got my start in public service advocating for my own children’s early childhood education back in Washington state.

When my kids were very young, the State legislature wanted to shut down their preschool through budget cuts.

So I bundled my kids in the car and drove 100 miles down to Olympia to explain to my legislators why this preschool program was important—and why it was worth saving.

But as I was making my case to a state Senator, he told me I couldn’t make a different because I was “just a mom in tennis shoes.”

I was a mom in tennis shoes—but I knew that shouldn’t stop me from being able to make a difference.

It wasn’t easy—just like the work you do isn’t easy—but I called my friends, who called their friends…

And after months of showing up at the state legislature and making our voices heard, we were able to convince state legislators this program was worth saving.

I went on to teach at that school—and just like all of you—I understand how important high-quality preschool and child care is for our youngest learners.

When kids don’t have access to quality early learning and care programs, it can impact them throughout their lives…

And it can have consequences for working families, the middle class, and for our economy.

The skyrocketing costs of child care today are forcing some parents to pay more than they make…

And others are even being forced to quit their jobs.

Everyone on this call knows there are steps we can—and need—to take to address these critical issues and start building an economy that works for all families.

So I was proud to work with all of you and Representative Scott to introduce the Child Care for Working Families Act earlier this year to start investing in our families, our teachers, and our youngest generation.

Our plan would take on the rising costs of child care by making sure parents don’t have to pay more than they can afford for quality care, increase access to high-quality preschool programs for low- and middle-income families, and support our nation’s child care workforce with higher pay and better training—so that they can help themselves and our next generation thrive.

And shortly after introducing our bill, I had the opportunity to travel around my home state of Washington, in coordination with Child Care Aware of Washington, to hear from parents, teachers, and center directors on the challenges unique to their communities…

…and what we can be doing to support their needs.

I also saw the importance of ensuring parents are informed about their child care options through state and local child care resource and referral agencies. 

The work you do is so important, but we know it’s going to take significantly more resources to build a sustainable child care system that works for families and local communities.

It’s going to be a tough road to get this done, especially as we are seeing so many threats to middle class families.

But if we don’t keep talking about these issues and fighting for what we believe in, we’re never going to get there.

And so I am asking you to keep up the good work fighting for children and families at the state, local, and the federal levels.

We need your voices to move this issue forward…

And to show there are parents, teachers, and advocates on the ground who believe investing in our next generation is one of the smartest things we can do.

I will continue to be your partner and to advocate for improvements and investments for child care and early learning programs in Congress.

Thank you all again for your hard work.