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Warren pitches a plan for $10-a-day child care

Sen. Elizabeth Warren talks with reporters outside her home in Cambridge in 2018. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren talks with reporters outside her home in Cambridge in 2018. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

As state lawmakers mull another run at ambitious plans to make child care affordable, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday rolled out a plan to do the same nationwide.

Under a federal proposal that is backed by Gov. Maura Healey, a family in Massachusetts with an infant and a two-year-old making $130,125 per year would pay no more than $10 per day, or $200 per month, down from the current average cost of $3,128 per month, according to Warren's office. The bill would also ensure that higher-income families pay no more than 7% of their income on child care, and lower-income families making less than 75% of their state's median income would be fully subsidized.

Half of families nationwide would pay no more than $10 a day for child care, according to Warren's office, which did not include in its press release announcement an overall cost of her plan, or ways to pay for it other than a "mandatory federal investment."

"A lack of child care is holding back our economy and keeping parents out of the workforce – it's giving lie to the notion that there's equal opportunity in our country," said Warren, who brought Eugénie Ouedraogo, a child care worker based in Taunton, as her guest to President Biden's State of the Union address Tuesday night. "We can't build a future by shortchanging our babies and families. The more we invest in child care, the better for our families, our small businesses and our entire economy."

Warren's office released statements of support for her proposal from a string of elected officials, including Healey, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Senate President Karen Spilka and Sen. Jason Lewis, and Reps. Adrian Madaro, Ken Gordon and Alice Peisch.

The bill's cosponsors are Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Bernie Sanders, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, and Sens. Edward Markey, Cory Booker, Alex Padilla, Sheldon Whitehouse, Tina Smith, and Richard Blumenthal.

A group of Democrats led by U.S. Reps. Mikie Sherrill and Sara Jacobs are rolling the same bill out in the House, where supporters from Massachusetts include Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Stephen Lynch and Jake Auchincloss.

Healey and Democratic legislative leaders have signaled an interest in mounting a serious attempt to broaden access to affordable child care and early education, but have yet to outline or advance specific proposals five weeks into the new session.



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