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Sen. Gillibrand Asking For $50 Billion For Child Care Centers

NY Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Assemblymember John McDonald, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden outside Unity House in Troy.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
NY Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Assemblymember John McDonald, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden outside Unity House in Troy.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul stopped by Unity House of Troy Monday to meet with local child care providers and call for critical support for the industry.

America's child care system has come off the rails as the pandemic battered economy struggles to right itself. With New York in Phase Four of reopening, many parents have to return to work, but not all children will be returning to school. Gillibrand says child care was already a challenge before the coronavirus hit.  She stressed the urgency of getting child care providers financial relief.

"They need support and they need clear guidelines. Right now they don't have either. On Friday I sent a letter to the CDC that outlines the need and the recommendation of child care providers in New York. It requests CDC first provide clarification about the disparity between CDC guidelines and state guidelines. Second, offer additional information about how they use the safety protocols like face shields and social distancing will impact the interaction with children. And consider the unity of care when recommending alternating days, half days or other reduced schedules."

Aside from trying to bounce back from months of lost revenue, Gillibrand points out that child care providers must bear the costs of stocking PPE supplies while reconfiguring their facilities to comply with social distancing regulations.

"That's why I will keep pushing to make sure the next COVID package includes the Child Care is Essential Act. This will provide $50 billion of grant funding to help providers cover these new costs and costs for making rent, mortgage, utility payments, so they can keep their doors open. And it will ensure that these providers can pay their employees and help to offset some of the additional costs for child care for families."

Hochul, also a Democrat, sees Gillibrand's plan as key to getting the economy back on track.

"$50 billion of support for states’ child care centers and direct assistance to child care centers is absolutely essential or the economy will not come back on all cylinders like we desperately need it to do. So we are sending a message to Washington."

Gillibrand adds she has four different bills aimed at making daycare more affordable.

"We have one that doubles the tax deduction for middle-class families. We have one that allows for a tax credit for low-income families. And I support universal pre-K to make a full year, similar to public schools so that it covers for all 3- and 4-year-olds.  I also have legislation for early childhood education to increase the amounts of money that we give to Head Start and other specifically for at-risk children."

According to Gillibrand, it would take at least $9.6 billion per month to keep current child care providers in business and ensure providers that closed due to the pandemic can safely reopen.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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