News Releases

Spending bill headed to final passage builds on historic increases for child care and Head Start funding

In September 2017, Senator Murray introduced Child Care for Working Families Act to address child care crisis 

As a former preschool teacher, Senator Murray is fighting for high-quality, affordable child care and early learning for all

Senator Murray: “This is an important step that will help children, families, and our economy, and I’m going to keep fighting until high-quality, affordable early learning and care is a reality for all”

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS), released the following statement on child care and early learning investments in the final Fiscal Year 2019 Labor, HHS, & Education Appropriations Bill that cleared the House-Senate conference committee yesterday and is now headed to final passage to be signed into law. After Senator Murray introduced her Child Care for Working Families Act last fall, Congress agreed to the largest increase in funding ever for child care in Fiscal Year 2018. This bill builds on that historic investment by another $50 million. A former preschool teacher, Senator Murray has long been a champion of early childhood education and care, and is continuing to fight to address our nation’s child care crisis and help ensure every working family has access to high-quality, affordable child care and early learning. 

“All across the country, parents and families can’t work full-time or can’t take a promotion because they can’t find affordable child care, or aren’t focused at work because they are worried about if their child is safe and thriving. It’s clear there’s a child care crisis in this country, so I’m pleased Republicans and Democrats in Congress came together to continue the historic investments in child care and give another boost to Head Start,” said Senator Murray. “This is an important step that will help children, families, and our economy, and I’m going to keep fighting until high-quality, affordable early learning and care is a reality for all.”

The bipartisan spending bill funds the Child Care Development Block Grant at $5.276 billion—a $50 million increase from FY 18, and a $2.42 billion increase from FY 17 levels. This bill also maintains $250 million for Preschool Development Grants and increases Head Start funding by $200 million, building on a $610 million increase last year. 

In September 2017, Senator Murray introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act, a comprehensive early learning and child care bill that would ensure no family has to pay more than they can afford on child care, expand access to high-quality preschool for low- and middle-income 3- and 4-year-olds, and support our nation’s child care teachers and caregivers by providing them with better training and pay. According to a new report by the Center for American Progress, the Child Care for Working Families Act would create approximately 2.3 million jobs and the typical family would not pay more than $45 a week for child care. The bill has 32 cosponsors in the Senate and over 125 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.