Traveling across the state, from River to River, I hear directly from working families who are looking for more childcare options and small business owners on a mission to find more employees. Childcare remains a workforce issue in both our metropolitan areas and rural communities, with childcare availability having a direct impact on employers and economic growth.
Serving as the Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I have the unique opportunity to bring the stories of middle America straight to Washington D.C. I remind my colleagues of the young moms who are starting their side business and need childcare to make their schedule work, or the employers who are looking to ease the childcare needs of their workforce. These stories are what help me identify a path forward to ensure our families, in all four corners of the state, have access to quality, affordable childcare.
One commonsense solution to increase childcare is my bipartisan bill that allows small, non-profit childcare providers to participate in Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs. The SBA currently offers multiple programs to help small businesses access capital, but only for-profit childcare centers are eligible. My Childcare Small Business Investment Act would make non-profit childcare providers, including our religious non-profits, eligible for these SBA loans, as long as they are licensed by the state and their employees have had criminal background checks. We know our local churches serve as another provider option with programming and facilities that rural communities rely on. This legislation allows for these critical providers to apply for SBA loans, with the long-term goal of bringing more childcare slots to our communities.
At the state level, Governor Reynolds and the Iowa legislature are tackling issues like reimbursement rates, addressing the cliff effect in the Child Care Assistance Program, and investing state dollars to create additional provider options for families. Their leadership and collaborative work have clearly brought solutions to working families and providers!
I will continue to take on the challenge to cut red tape, minimize bureaucracy in our agencies, and support practical solutions at the federal level – and I’m proud to do it, because the work we put in now, will have a positive impact on our children and our economy for generations to come.