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Rubio, Rosen, Ernst, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Expand Child Care Availability

May 13, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the Small Business Child Care Investment Act. This bipartisan and bicameral legislation would make small non-profit child care providers eligible to participate in all loan programs available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) – the same opportunity currently provided to for-profit providers – thereby supporting these small businesses in expanding the availability of affordable, high-quality child care to more working families. Around half of families in the United States live in “child care deserts,” with few options for licensed child care, especially for rural areas, low-income, and minority communities. Representatives Susie Lee (D-NV) and Pete Stauber (R-MN) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. 
 
“American families should have easy access to affordable child care,” Rubio said. “Working parents desperately need more child care options, and this legislation would help to achieve that.” 
 
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made access to quality, affordable child care all the more difficult; hindering parents — particularly mothers — from taking part in our workforce,” Rosen said. “Even before the onset of COVID-19, half of U.S. families reported difficulty finding access to affordable child care – hurting their financial stability and stunting our nation’s economic growth. This bipartisan bill would help address this problem by investing in child care providers so that they can help increase the number of available child care slots, giving parents access to more affordable child care services they need and creating jobs in their communities.”
 
“Iowa was already facing a child care crisis even before the pandemic, but those challenges for our families and communities have only become more severe since,” Ernst said. “One key area of improvement we should focus on is expanding opportunities for new child care facilities. This bipartisan effort is a commonsense fix that takes existing programs and allows them to be used to help child care providers, including our non-profit centers, which will in turn help give our working parents greater access to quality and affordable care for their kids.”
 
For a full list of cosponsor quotes, click here
 
Background:
 
According to a 2018 report from the Center for American Progress, half of all families lived in “child care deserts” – areas without sufficiently available child care.
  
Currently, non-profit child care providers cannot access the same types of SBA loans as for-profit providers:

  • Non-profit providers can only apply for the SBA’s microloan program, which is capped at $50,000 and cannot be used to purchase real estate or for existing debts.
  • For-profit providers can access the larger and more flexible loan programs that range up to $5.5 million and can be used for real estate, construction, remodeling, and other expenses critical to maintaining and expanding high-quality child care operations.

                                
The Small Business Child Care Investment Act would:

  • Ensure that qualified non-profit providers have equal access to SBA loans that allow providers to invest in and expand their operations, which creates local jobs and gives working families more options for affordable and quality child care;
  • Ensure non-profit providers can access the larger and more flexible loan programs that can be used for real estate, construction, remodeling, and other expenses critical to maintaining and expanding high-quality child care operations.

  
The bipartisan Small Business Child Care Investment Act is endorsed by Save the Children Action Network, First Five Years Fund, the Bipartisan Policy Center, Child Care Aware of America, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Military Family Association, First Focus Campaign for Children, National Head Start Association, the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities of Nevada, Children’s Advocacy Alliance of Nevada, United Way of Southern Nevada, and the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce.