11 September 2020 | Early Learning

How fares child care after vote on ‘skinny’ COVID-19 relief bill?

Mitch Rucker
Sept. 11, 2020

With Congress back in Washington, D.C., we wanted to provide a quick update on where things stand when it comes to child care support and the next round of COVID-19 relief funding.

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted on a slimmed-down pandemic relief package put together by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, called the “skinny” bill. While this bill contained roughly half the total funding of his earlier proposal, thanks to the work of engaged people across Kansas and the country some $15 billion in child care funding remained in the package.

This was far less than the $50 billion needed to secure the child care industry through the pandemic, but it is encouraging to see that lawmakers recognize child care is a priority for American families and our economic recovery. Ultimately, however, that bill was rejected, and it is unclear where federal lawmakers will go from here.

While we have mostly focused on the issue of child care support, it is important to know there are many other issues that will remain unaddressed if the Senate fails to pass a comprehensive pandemic relief package. State budgets across the country have been thrown into deficit by the pandemic, and Kansas is no exception.

Without aid to state governments, the Legislature could be forced to make drastic cuts to essential services. In Kansas, we have just started to repair the damage done to state government by the Brownback tax experiment, and we cannot afford to have that work undone. Additionally, funding for unemployment, food assistance, and other critical programs will be tenuous at best.

We need, and deserve, our elected officials to engage in serious, meaningful work on a COVID-19 response bill that has a chance to pass both the House and Senate, as well as get the president’s signature. Partisan games and empty gestures meant only to produce talking points won’t pay the bills for Kansans affected by this pandemic, and our legislators need to deliver on their promises to serve the people of our state.

Kansas Action for Children will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates in the coming weeks.

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