Jun 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Patty Murray: Pre-pandemic, child care costs a "silent epidemic"

Axios political reporter Hans Nichols and Sen. Patty Murray speak at Wednesday's virtual event.
Photo: Axios

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, figuring out and affording child care was a "silent epidemic" for working parents, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said at an Axios event on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The pandemic has pushed the child care conversation into the forefront. In April, the White House announced that it would release $39 billion from the American Rescue Plan to address the child care crisis stemming from COVID-19.

  • Many daycares and other providers were forced to close due to low enrollment and the high costs to keep facilities safe and clean throughout the pandemic.

What she's saying: "It has changed night and day," Murray said. "Before the pandemic, child care was a stressful conversation for every family inside their home, but they rarely talked about it, especially to their employer, because they were worried that they wouldn't be given a promotion or wouldn't keep their job if they said 'child care is a huge issue for me.'"

What to watch: In April, Murray and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) re-introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act that would ensure that no low- or middle-income family spends more than 7% of their income on child care.

  • "I can't tell you how many people have said to me in the last year-plus that child care is the one issue that is keeping their family from being stable," Murray said."

Watch the full event here.

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