Congress Pauses Bill to Support Child Care, Cut Costs for Parents, and Strengthen Health Care

As you likely heard over the holidays, Congress has hit the pause button on the budget reconciliation bill that would support child care, slash costs for parents, improve access to health care, and address other priorities.

We’re disappointed the bill stalled in the Senate after passing the House. But we’re also encouraged that conversations are continuing in Washington, and we’re optimistic that Congress will bring a version of the bill back up in February.

We’re glad to see that the child care and pre-k components of the legislation have strong support inside and outside Congress. However, there has been some confusion about these provisions, so we want to set the record straight. The bill would:

  • Give parents more power to choose the child care that works for them, cutting child care costs by a thousand dollars per month for many middle class families;
  • Deliver funding to child care providers — ranging from faith-based programs to home-based providers to small businesses to others — to help them keep their doors open and pay a living wage;
  • Give every family in every corner of the state the option of voluntary pre-k for three- and four-year-old children once the bill is fully phased in.

Those strategies will help parents prepare their children to learn, grow, and succeed by giving them the support they need during this critical age for early brain development. The early learning plan also embraces policy priorities that have had strong bipartisan support in Texas for several years.

The legislation that passed in the US House also includes critical health care provisions that would finally close the health coverage gap in states that rejected Medicaid expansion; let kids stay enrolled in their health insurance for 12 uninterrupted months; and allow moms enrolled in Medicaid to keep seeing their doctors during the critical year after child birth.

Let’s keep up the fight to make sure Congress passes the legislation that Texans want, our children need, and our families deserve!