July 30, 2020
Reed’s Opening Statement On Child Care:
We agree. Families need access to child care. It’s key to making America’s recovery stronger.
Child care is an economic, education, and public health issue that demands our full attention, particularly now that millions of Americans want to return to work.
Unfortunately, this crisis has hit child care providers across the country especially hard. Many are facing an acute set of financial challenges.
We must address this problem in a bipartisan manner if we are to ensure our nation’s children and the working families that support them are not left behind during this crisis.
Unfortunately, Democrats have decided to throw bipartisanship out the window, knowing that by doing so they are dooming their own legislation.
They have once again shut us out of the process and crafted a boondoggle of a bill that is out of touch with American’s needs.
This is no more than a copy-paste of various Democrat child-care proposals superficially edited to link to the pandemic.
This bill contains 6 child-care tax provisions that combined would cost more than $100 billion.
Simply throwing as much money as you can at the problem, with no thought into the actual policy itself, won’t work
These provisions haven’t been through regular order in the Committee of jurisdiction, and this package has not been the subject of a single Committee hearing, let alone a Committee mark-up.
It’s abundantly clear Democrats were so eager to achieve a messaging victory, they felt they could skip the whole policymaking process that is fundamental to how Congress is supposed to work.
We’ve been down this road before. In multiple states, the additional child-care funding we already provided through the CARES Act still has not made its way down to child-care providers on the ground.
In my home state of New York, one of my constituents, Beth Starks, testified in front of the New York State Assembly on child-care issues. She highlighted that of $164.6 million in Child Care Development Block Grants for New York State, less than half has gone out to the communities and providers who needed it yesterday.
Her testimony also underscores the negative impact state leaders like Governor Cuomo have had by withholding federal grants to families and providers. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to submit her testimony for the record.
Up until now, Republicans and Democrats have consistently worked together to provide additional support for child care. Again, this an issue we fundamentally all agree on.
On the Ways and Means Committee, we’ve demonstrated time and time again our commitment to improving access to high-quality child care.
Madam Speaker — that’s why we are disappointed. Today’s vote is a wasted opportunity.
I started today by saying we all care deeply about child care. As COVID continues to disrupt American life, that focus has only grown.
As the Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, I can tell you we’re committed to reaching across the aisle and actively looking for issues where we can come together to find common ground.
Leader McCarthy has further made clear his support for prioritizing child care as part of COVID relief and more than 40 Republican Members, including myself, echoed that support in a letter to leadership.
In addition, Republicans have introduced a number of bills that include smart provisions – such as the bills introduced by Reps. Walorski and Wenstrup.
Earlier this week, we led the introduction of a bill called The Back to Work Child Care Grants Act of 2020 to support working families, advance our nation’s economic recovery, and help those parents who want to go back to work. The bill provides a framework for child-care providers to access the resources they need to reopen and stay open.
We’re proud that we were able to make this bill bipartisan because we care about getting results, not headlines.
Thanks to the leadership of folks like Senator Ernst and Senator Alexander, this proposal has a real chance of moving forward.
Clearly, there is some common ground and shared goals among us. But Democrats have skipped regular order and any semblance of meaningful bipartisan discussion.
There is an important role for Congress to play in alleviating the economic stress COVID has placed on American families.
To the reasonable members of the Democrat party — come work with us. Our door is always open. Until you do, Congress will continue to waste the goodwill of the American people.
With that, I yield back.