Rep. Axne Unveils Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Access to Child Care

February 6, 2020
Press Release
Legislation Would Open Eligibility for Loans to Non-Profit Child Care Providers

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) joined eleven bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives to introduce legislation to increase access to child care by expanding eligibility for loans to child care providers.

Under current law, for-profit child care providers have access to Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs that can provide up to $5.5 million for expansions of operations — but access to these loans is restricted for non-profit child care providers.

The Small Business Child Care Investment Act would change SBA loan eligibility to allow equal access to SBA loans for non-profit child care providers. Allowing non-profit providers to access SBA funds will allow child care options in Iowa to expand, create new jobs, and give Iowa working families greater options for quality child care. Expanding SBA access to non-profits would mean that reputable, well-known non-profit organizations like the United Way or Children’s Garden in Des Moines would be able to access these loans.

“Across this country, we are experiencing a child care crisis. New parents in Iowa are paying on average $10,400 for care on top of a lack of child care providers. That why I’m working to find ways to expand access and lower the costs of child care for families,” said Rep. Axne. “We need to encourage new child care providers to start up a business that will have direct benefits in our communities. By allowing our local non-profits to utilize these SBA loans, we can ensure all child care providers can access support to grow their operations — creating jobs and allowing more families to utilize their care.”

The bill was introduced with lead sponsors Rep. Susie Lee (NV-03) and Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08). Both Rep. Axne and Rep. Finkenauer (IA-01) joined the legislation as original cosponsors. The bill has the support of the National Head Start Association, the National Association for the Educating of Young Children (NEAYC), and the Save the Children Action Network (SCAN).

“We applaud Representatives Axne, Lee, and Stauber for prioritizing children and families by introducing this important bipartisan bill. This legislation provides a simple solution to the child care crisis, one of the most urgent issues facing today’s children, our nation’s future,” said Kimberly Robson, Senior Director for State and National Campaigns at the Save the Children Action Network. “In providing non-profit child care providers the opportunity to access SBA loans, this bill simultaneously addresses the nation-wide child care shortage and boosts the economy, all while ensuring the brightest future for our children. An investment in children is a direct investment in our future. Nothing is more important. This is why we are proud to support this piece of legislation.”

Since coming to Congress, Rep. Axne has worked to increase investments for child care and improve the quality and safety of care.

Following reports of child care safety violations across Iowa, Rep. Axne introduced the Child Care Protection Improvement Act. The legislation would ensure all children are placed in safe, quality early care by assisting states with implementing background check requirements for child care workers.

In December, Rep. Axne voted to increase funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) by over a half billion dollars for Fiscal Year 2020. CCDBG received a total of $5.8 billion in funding for this fiscal year.