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Statement of Support for Bipartisan Pandemic Relief Legislation
Council for a Strong America commends the inclusion of child care and nutrition funding in the new COVID-19 relief bill
Washington, D.C. – December 22, 2020 Last night, House and Senate lawmakers passed a bipartisan pandemic relief package, including $10 billion to help stabilize the child care sector and emergency investments in our nation’s child nutrition programs and food systems. This year-end bill also included the passage of Fiscal Year 2021 funding to ensure the continued, consistent operation of critical child care and child nutrition programs.
The child care sector is vital to working parents, businesses, and our economic recovery. Prior to the pandemic, issues with the already-fragile industry cost the U.S. economy $57 billion each year. The emergency relief provides support to the child care sector through an additional $10 billion to help stabilize center and home-based child care providers that have faced increased costs and decreased enrollments throughout the pandemic. This relief coupled with FY21 Child Care Development Block Grant funding serves as a critical down payment in sustaining the child care sector and allowing our parents to work and our economy to recover and flourish.
In addition, the bill also included bipartisan measures focused on combating food insecurity. The agreement funds critical child nutrition programs, including support for school meal adaptations to increase access for all children year round who rely on school meals for their only nutritious and balanced meal of the day, continued pandemic emergency benefits (P-EBT), and vital funding for WIC participants to ensure that children have access to fresh and nutritious foods at all stages of development.
“The strength of our country relies on programs that support the health and development of our children. As this challenging year comes to a close, I am heartened to see Congress come together on this bipartisan package that not only provides dedicated relief to our child care industry, but also provides on-going funding for child care providers and working parents. Child care providers are essential to our nation’s economy, and this is an important step in getting them the direct support they need,” said Barry Ford, President and CEO of Council for a Strong America. “Furthermore, this bill provides critical relief to help address food insecurity by taking targeted steps to increase access to fresh and nutritious foods. The pandemic has exacerbated childhood malnutrition, and we must continue to modernize our food systems to support the healthy development of our nation’s kids. This past year was difficult, but this bipartisan bill shows that our country can come together to find solutions to critical issues facing our children and families, and we will need the new Congress and Administration to build upon this important work in the short term as we emerge from this pandemic, and in the long term as we work to adapt our nation’s programs to create strong, healthy kids for generations to come.”
Council for a Strong America is a bipartisan policy organization that engages law enforcement, military, business, faith and sports leaders to promote evidence-based policies and programs that enable kids to be healthy, well-educated and prepared for productive lives.