Lawmakers explore ways to reduce cost of childcare

Politics

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The rising costs of childcare is forcing some families to pay as much for their toddler’s care as they would for college tuition.

Not only can it be expensive, they may also be forced to deal with unreliable care that could lead to absences from work.

Now members of Congress are looking at what they can do to help families cope. Lawmakers agree change should start with parents’ needs, like accommodating schedules that are different from a 9-to-5 job.

“Staying at home is often not an option, even for two-parent households,” single mom Angelica Maria Gonzalez told lawmakers. “If I had access to quality and affordable childcare from the start, my career and my kids’ lives would have looked very different.”

Nancy Harvey — a childcare provider from Oakland, California — told lawmakers it’s hard to maintain quality daycare when most caregivers make minimum wage.

Democrats say they came up with a solution in 2017 with legislation that would cap what families pay for childcare based on their income. It would also align the salaries of childcare workers with elementary school teachers.

While it is gaining bipartisan support, there are some that have reservations about the plan.

“We need to take a comprehensive look at how we’re using hardworking taxpayer funds to support the programs,” U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx told her fellow lawmakers. The North Carolina Republican wants to make sure the childcare system doesn’t waste federal tax dollars.

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