Orange County Congresswoman Michelle Steel unveiled a new bill this week that seeks to provide businesses with funding to expand their childcare programs for employees in an effort to help working parents nationwide.
In 2020, 1.6 million Moms and 1.3 million Dads left the workforce, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, with many citing a rising cost of childcare and lack of in-class schooling for their children, causing parents to stay home in order to care for their children themselves. Just in Orange County, this has resulted in $4.3 billion in productivity in lost wages.
In Steel’s proposal, states would be able to repurpose unobligated funding from the American Rescue Plan Act passed in March to increase the supply of childcare, with businesses having the option to open or expand childcare programs, as well as establish partnerships with childcare providers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of parents out of the work force. We need to make it easier for these parents to return to work,” said Rep. Steel. “By helping businesses that choose to provide childcare options, more parents will have the opportunity to get back to work full-time.”
In order to receive the funding, Steel’s bill will require businesses to demonstrate their plans to sustain the childcare program even after the grant period is over, meaning the increased supply of childcare for working parents would be here to stay.
Congresswoman Steel, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 2020 after defeating an incumbent, knows the struggle of working families due to seeing her single mom work tirelessly when she was growing up to make ends meet, which inspired her to run for public office.
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