WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Tens of thousands of childcare centers around the country could be forced to shut down in the coming months because the federal funding they rely on is about to run out.
Over the past few years, a large part of the childcare sector was sustained by $39 billion in emergency pandemic funding.
Without renewed funding, an estimated 70,000 childcare programs could shut down, leaving many American families to face difficult choices.
“Millions of children will likely lose their childcare slots,” said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.).
“States used this critical funding to reduce cost for families and improve pay for providers,” added Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.).
The consequences would also impact those who can still find and afford childcare by making it more expensive. That’s why Democrats are now pushing the Childcare Stabilization Act, which would provide $16 billion a year in funding for childcare for the next five years.
“This is must-pass funding. We must prevent our country from going over the childcare fiscal cliff,” Clark said.
Democrats say the funding is essential for families and the U.S. economy because if parents don’t have child care, they can’t work, which would impact women disproportionately.
But passing the funding will be an uphill fight because the legislation doesn’t have much Republican support.
“We have limited resources, so what’s the most important things we can do and how do we make sure the money goes to the people that need it?” said Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.).