Stauber unveils bipartisan bill to expand child care opportunities

U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN) recently introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at expanding access to care for children living in rural areas by allowing non-profit child care providers to have access to Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.

“With more and more parents choosing to dually work and raise a family, child care deserts are hurting families across the nation now more than ever,” Rep. Stauber said. A child care desert, the congressman’s office explained, is any census tract with more than 50 children under age 5 that either has no child care providers or very few licensed child care slots. According to background provided by Rep. Stauber’s staff, 51 percent of Americans live in child care deserts.

“Those in rural America are particularly impacted by this problem, and we cannot continue to ignore those who choose to live in our rural communities,” he noted.

Rep. Stauber is the lead original cosponsor of the Small Business Child Care Investment Act, H.R. 5789, which was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) on Feb. 6. The bill would grant non-profit child care providers the same access to SBA loans that are available to for-profit businesses.

“These loans will go a long way in helping to open new child care centers and providing for families that want to participate in the workforce,” Rep. Stauber added.

“Not only does the Small Business Child Care Investment Act expand child care access for families on a budget,” Rep. Lee said, “it helps child care providers expand their businesses, hire more employees, and invest back into their local economies.”

Sarah Rittling, executive director of First Five Years Fun, a federal advocacy organization focused on early learning, said the bipartisan proposal “would expand access to affordable, quality child care across the country by allowing non-profit providers to access the same financial resources available to for-profit providers.”