WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – Some members of Congress are hoping to negotiate a major increase in spending for childcare in the next coronavirus relief package.
They argue every other sector of the economy depends on it.
Congress approved $3.5 billion dollars for childcare in the first cares package.
House Democrats are now asking for at least $50 billion in the next one.
“The figure that was in the first package was the result of a negotiation. It was not a reflection of the depth or the need for investment,” Rep. Katie Porter, D-California, said.
Congresswoman Katie Porter says if childcare centers begin to close, it will have a devastating effect on the economy.
She says workers in every industry rely on childcare.
“Making sure we have quality and affordable childcare is really a massive investment in our economy,” Porter said.
Many states are starting to lift their stay-at-home orders which means millions of Americans with children at home may soon have to go back to work.
“I don’t see how we can restart our economy unless we’ve got childcare facilities open,” Rep. Mike Levin, D-California, said.
Democrat Mike Levin says many childcare facilities have been unable to get emergency government loans and might close if Congress doesn’t act.
“More specific funding is absolutely necessary,” Levin said.
“If Democrats are going to come with a big wish list of all the other stuff they’ve ever hoped for, that’s going to be a bill that fails pretty fast,” Rep. Doug Lamalfa, R-California, said.
But Republican Doug Lamalfa doesn’t think a $50 billion investment in childcare belongs in a coronavirus relief package.
“The focus of all these bills should at least stay in the ballpark of addressing the disaster,” Lamalfa said.
House Democrats say childcare is a huge issue and will be even after the coronavirus crisis passes.