Reid Remarks On The High Price Of Childcare

“In most states, a year of daycare for an infant was more expensive than a year of tuition at a public university. So it’s no wonder middle-class families are dealing with sticker shock.” 

“In an economy where most families have two working parents, childcare isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity.”

“This bipartisan measure is an investment in America’s mothers, 65 percent of whom work outside the home.”

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the importance of providing access to quality, affordable childcare. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

In United States, we think of a college education as they key to unlock our children’s success. But many families in this country struggle to even afford childcare – let alone save for higher education.

In 2011, in most states, a year of daycare for an infant was more expensive than a year of tuition at a public university. So it’s no wonder middle-class families are dealing with sticker shock. And for many low-income families, childcare is simply out of reach.

For millions of families in the United States, childcare is their single largest household expense at nearly $15,000 a year. And in an economy where most families have two working parents, childcare isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity.

That is why President George H.W. Bush signed the Child Care and Development Block Grant into law in 1990 – to ensure working families have access to quality, affordable childcare. I thank HELP Committee Chairman Harkin and Senators Burr, Mikulski and Alexander for their diligent, bipartisan work to reauthorize this measure.

The program serves 1.6 million children – including more than 7,300 in Nevada – helping them access affordable, high-quality care.  But the program serves only a fraction of the need. We should be doing more to guarantee every parent who wants to work can afford adequate supervision for their children and every child, regardless of income, has a safe place to learn.

This bipartisan measure is an investment in America’s mothers, 65 percent of whom work outside the home. Yet they earn less and are less likely to go back to work after having children than men are – in part because of the shortage of safe, affordable daycare.  This program is helping millions of parents – especially mothers – get back to work and help support their families.

In the two decades since this important program was last authorized, we have learned a great deal about the importance of early childhood education and high-quality childcare. This bipartisan measure builds on that knowledge, updates health and safety standards for childcare centers and requires providers to undergo comprehensive background checks. But this reauthorization is only the first step, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on the larger effort to broaden access to quality early childhood education.

 ###