In action Thursday, Jan. 28, Representatives Josh Harder (CA-10) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3) introduced the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act to address the shortage of affordable child care facilities and professionals across the nation, especially in rural areas. This bipartisan legislation will create a $100 million grant program to address the growing crisis of child care accessibility and affordability by training and retaining highly qualified professionals and funding the building and expansion of child care centers. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Dan Sullivan (AK) have introduced identical bipartisan legislation in the Senate.
“Right now, it costs more for a year of child care in California than a year at Stanislaus State. That’s unaffordable for far too many Central Valley families,” said Rep. Harder. “This bipartisan bill is another step toward ensuring that every working family here in the Central Valley has access to safe and affordable child care no matter where they come from or where they live. It means better care for our kids, better jobs for our workers, and a better future for our community.”
“Affordable, quality child care must be available to every family. Child care shortages across the country pose a moral and financial issue for communities when parents are forced to decide between working and staying at home with their children,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “Our bipartisan Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act will help ensure that every family has good options available to them when planning for their careers and their children.”
“While COVID-19 greatly exacerbated our nation’s pre-existing child care crisis, it also shed light on how crucial the child care industry is to our economy, and how big a role it plays in our recovery. Without access to child care, parents won’t be able to rejoin the workforce, and our economy will continue to suffer,” said Roy Chrobocinski, Director of Federal Government Relations at Save the Children Action Network (SCAN). “Therefore, SCAN is thrilled that the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act is being introduced, for there is no better time to ensure families can access high-quality and affordable child care, no matter where they live. We applaud Representatives Herrera Beutler and Harder bringing this issue front and center.”
Harder also reported on a couple of other initiatives during the past week, as well as scheduled the initial ‘town hall’ session for 2021.
The congressman announced that the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has saved 96,074 jobs in his Central Valley district according to data from the SBA. Over 7,000 businesses in California’s tenth district received millions of dollars to keep their workers employed through the economic chaos resulting from the pandemic. Rep. Harder voted to create the PPP as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March.
“People are hurting all over the Valley because of the economic chaos caused by the pandemic – and thanks to the PPP we’ve saved nearly 100,000 local jobs,” said Harder. “You can’t tell people they have to shut down their business and then not help out. We still have a lot of work to do to help people out during this pandemic, but this program is a good start to keeping our businesses afloat.”
In August Rep. Harder announced that the program had already saved over 70,000 local jobs. Since that time, the SBA reopened the program and provided billions more in additional loans at the direction of Congress with over 20,000 additional Valley jobs saved by the program.
The PPP allows employers to apply for loans to keep their employees on payroll specifically during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Businesses may apply for forgiveness of the loans if they verify that the funds were used to keep employees and make payments, including mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments.
Harder also released an End of Term Report highlighting his work for the Central Valley in his first term in office. The report details his efforts on behalf of his constituents – ranging from legislative wins to assistance with casework.
“My job is to get things done for folks at home– and we had a lot of success in our first term doing that by working alongside Republicans and Democrats alike,” said Harder. “I look forward to building on this record of success in the next Congress.”
Highlights from the report include:
Wrote and passed five pieces of legislation into law;
Helped over 4,000 constituents one-by-one and returned over $20 million in owed payments;
Secured $14 million for water projects in the Valley – including first federal dollars for a new project in 50 years;
Cosponsored the most bills with Republicans than any other Democrat in the House;
Held 18 in person town hall events and eight telephone town hall events after COVID started.
On Thursday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. Pacific Time, Harder will host his first telephone town hall of 2021. The telephone town hall is one of many listening tour events Rep. Harder is hosting to hear from his constituents on how to be most helpful during this difficult time. Constituents can call into the event toll-free at 888-886-6603.