Former Preschool Teacher Patty Murray Delivers $1 Billion More to Help Families Find and Afford Child Care & Pre-K


Across funding bills, Murray secures new steps to help families find quality, affordable child care—including $1 billion more to lower families’ child care costs and strengthen Head Start


ICYMI: Murray, Top Appropriators Release Second Funding Package – MORE HERE


Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a former preschool teacher herself, issued the following statement after releasing the second and final funding package for fiscal year 2024, which includes $1 billion more for child care and early learning programs to help more families nationwide find and afford child care in the Fiscal Year 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations Act.


“The bottom line is: child care is out of reach for millions of families, and the growing child care crisis doesn’t just hurt parents who are forced to make impossible tradeoffs—it hurts businesses trying to hire and retain staff and holds our entire economy back. Child care isn’t a nice-to-have; it’s an absolute must—and an economic imperative.


“I’ve made clear child care is a top priority for just about every family and must also be a top priority for Congress—and I am really glad to have secured $1 billion more in this legislation to lower families’ child care costs and support pre-K options for working parents across the country through Head Start. This funding builds on major new investments I’ve worked to deliver in recent years and will help more families afford child care where they live.


“Make no mistake: there is so much more we must do to ensure every family in America can find affordable child care that works for them, and I won’t stop pushing until I get my Child Care for Working Families Act signed into law to make that vision a reality. In the meantime, I will keep fighting for every inch of progress we can get, which is exactly what I did across our funding bills this year. In addition to boosting funding to lower families child care costs, these funding bills will build new child care centers for military families, double universal pre-K enrollment at our bases, help working class parents get the child care they need to pursue a higher education, and more.”


As she wrote and negotiated this year’s funding bills, Senator Murray pushed to make progress across government programs to help tackle the growing child care crisis that is crunching families, hurting child care workers, straining businesses, and holding our entire economy back, including by:


Lowering Child Care Costs for Families


Notably, in this year’s LHHS bill, Senator Murray secured a combined $1 billion increase in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)—our nation’s primary child care program—and for Head Start, which provides no cost early learning services for eligible families nationwide. The bill provides $8.75 billion—a $725 million, or 9%, increase over fiscal year 2023—for CCDBG to help more families afford child care. It also includes $12.3 billion—a $275 million increase over fiscal year 2023—for Head Start to support and retain the teachers and staff the program needs to continue serving families nationwide.


Strengthening funding for CCDBG and Head Start to help families find and afford high-quality child care and early learning options has been a top priority for Senator Murray as the top Democrat on the LHHS subcommittee from 2015 through 2022 and now as Senate Appropriations Committee Chair. Senator Murray has been instrumental in increasing funding for CCDBG by 48% since fiscal year 2021 and more than tripling funding over the last seven years.


Expanding Child Care Options for Military Families


In this year’s defense funding bill, Senator Murray secured $167 million to fully fund the Department of Defense’s (DOD) child care initiatives. This includes a $66.5 million increase in funding over fiscal year 2023 to support universal, full-day pre-K, which will double enrollment from 1,810 to 3,625 children of servicemembers. It also includes new resources to recruit, support, and retain staff at DOD’s child development centers—including $33 million to provide a 50% discount for the first child of center staff. It also invests an additional $20 million above the budget request in the renovation and repair of DOD’s child development centers.


Separately, Senator Murray secured $277 million in this year’s military construction funding bill to establish six new child development centers on installations to provide military families with more child care options—and she secured $59.5 million above the President’s budget request for the design of additional child development centers. Senator Murray authorized dedicated funding for the construction of child care facilities on military bases in 2019 through the NDAA and has delivered strong funding to support child care for servicemembers since then.


Protecting Child Care Options for Parents Pursuing a Higher Education


In this year’s LHHS bill, Senator Murray protected full funding for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, which helps low-income parents pursue a higher education by supporting campus-based child care programs. The bill provides $75 million for the program—protecting existing funding and rejecting House Republicans’ proposal to eliminate the program altogether.


Eliminating Barriers for Veterans in Need of Child Care While Getting Care


In this year’s Veterans Affairs funding bill, Senator Murray secured $23 million to expand the successful Child Care Pilot Program she established in 2010, which helps eliminate barriers for veterans in need of child care while attending medical appointments.


Easing Child Care Barriers for Parents Working in Congress


In this year’s legislative branch funding bill, Senator Murray secured language authorizing Senate offices to—for the first time—use their existing budgets to provide child care subsidies to staff to better ensure working parents can serve their communities by working in Congress.




Senator Murray has led the fight to tackle the child care crisis in Congress—using every tool at her disposal to make progress for families as the top Democrat on the HELP Committee, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations LHHS Subcommittee, and now as Chair of the full Senate Appropriations Committee.


Senator Murray has secured significant year-over-year increases for CCDBG to help more families afford child care. She was instrumental in ensuring Congress took action when the COVID pandemic forced the child care sector to the brink of collapse. She authored the stabilization provisions in the American Rescue Plan alongside Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) and helped secure a historic $24 billion in stabilization funds and an additional $15 billion for CCDBG in the legislation. The stabilization funds kept over 220,000 child care providers across the country afloat, sustaining child care for up to 10 million children as our country recovered from the pandemic. One third of child care providers who received a stabilization grant said their child care program would have closed permanently without the grants. She introduced legislation and pushed to extend the stabilization grants—and has continued to push to deliver supplemental funding to address the child care crisis, particularly given the tight fiscal constraints the Fiscal Responsibility Act has imposed on annual appropriations.


Critically, Senator Murray has introduced and continues working to build the support needed to pass her Child Care for Working Families Act, comprehensive legislation to tackle the child care crisis and ensure families across America can find and afford the high-quality child care they need. The legislation, which became the basis for President Biden’s child care plan in 2020 and his Build Back Better proposal, would ensure that child care is affordable and accessible for working families nationwide. The typical family would pay about $10 a day for child care under her plan.


Senator Murray knows the challenges that working parents face and has spent her career advocating for parents, first running for office after a male legislator in Olympia told her she couldn’t make a difference in trying to save her kids’ preschool program because she was, “just a mom in tennis shoes.” Since being elected to the U.S. Senate, she has been a leading voice on child care and early childhood education in Congress, and has met constantly with parents from across Washington state to bring their stories and concerns back with her to the other Washington.