In Dearborn, Congressional Dems highlight Build Back Better Act’s early childhood investments

By: - November 9, 2021 9:45 am

U.S. House Democrats Brenda Lawrence, Katherine Clark and Debbie Dingell visit Wayne Metro Community Action Agency’s Early Head Start Program in Dearborn on Monday, They highlighted the importance of critical early childhood investments included in the President Joe Biden-led Build Back Better Act. | Ken Coleman

A group of U.S. House Democrats toured Wayne Metro Community Action Agency’s Early Head Start Program in Dearborn on Monday and highlighted the importance of critical early childhood investments included in the President Joe Biden-led Build Back Better Act.

“It’s always a refreshing day when you spend time with children,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn). “Wayne Metro’s Early Head Start Program is critical in early childhood development, and I’m so thankful for their commitment to ensuring the success of every individual child. In Congress, we’re fighting for better access to quality childcare in the Build Back Better Act, from lowering costs and strengthening worker benefits, so Michigan families can save thousands, parents can rejoin the workforce, and we can boost the economy.”

U.S. House Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), and U.S Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) also attended the event. Clark added that childcare is “foundational to a strong, inclusive economy.”

“It’s what allows parents to work, our kids to thrive, and our economy to grow,” said Clark.

After the U.S. House on Friday approved a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, federal lawmakers are now turning their attention to the Build Back Better Act. The sweeping social infrastructure bill, which has faced some opposition among Congressional Republicans and some moderate Democrats, makes a significant investment into early childhood education and childcare.

The nearly $2 trillion proposal would provide funding to lower the cost of childcare for working families, expand the availability of high-quality childcare, and raise wages for childcare workers. In Michigan, for example, a typical family of four could save nearly $35,000 a year on childcare with these once-in-a-generation investments.

It would also provide free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds and extend the federal child tax credit.

Lawrence tweeted on Monday, “The #BuildBackBetter Act means building back better for Michiganders.

  • Investing in childcare and universal Pre-K
  • Increasing affordable housing
  • Tackling climate change
  • Lowering drug prices and health care costs

We’re going to get this done!”  

Jessica Moore, director of early childhood services for Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, thanked the U.S. House members.

“Their continued commitment to early childhood education and the Build Back Better Act is poised to bring increased educational equity and opportunity – for our children, families and educators,” said Moore.

The push for the Build Back Better Act follows the House passing the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which Gov. Gretchen Whitmer touted in a prepared statement as a “win-win for Michigan.” The infrastructure bill, which the White House said Biden will “soon” sign, includes the following funding for Michigan:

  •  $7.3 billion for road repairs
  •  $563 million for bridge replacement and repair
  •  $1 billion for public transportation improvements
  •  $1.3 billion for water infrastructure
  •  $100 million for expanding high-speed internet access
  •  $110 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.