Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi: Adequate Child Care is Essential for Women To Lift Themselves Out of Poverty

May 16, 2002

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued the following statement on the House Floor today in opposition to the Republican Welfare Bill, which provides inadequate funding levels for child care and imposes significant financial burdens that will be passed on to states. Pelosi and Democrats offered a substitute that would provide the necessary resources to help women and their families achieve economic independence.

“It is unfortunate that our Republican colleagues have refused to allow the Democrats an opportunity to bring an amendment to the floor, which would address child care--one of the most serious deficiencies in their bill. It is loaded with deficiencies, but if I could talk about one, it would be child care.

The Democratic substitute gives women and their families the tools to leave poverty behind. It gives women access to job training, education, and the chance to make better lives for themselves and their families. It gives the states flexibility to implement the best approach. It focuses on real work and helps families escape poverty and achieve permanent employment.

The Republican bill that is on the floor today not only short-changes the important component of child care, which is essential to women lifting themselves out of poverty, it also foists on the states additional funding requirements. In my own state of California alone, they will face a $2.5 billion addition in costs to California, costs we can ill afford in a time of deficit.

The complete missing link in lifting people out of poverty and putting people to work is the answer to the question, who is going to take care of the children? We all talk about family values here; and we are all committed, both Democrats and Republicans alike. But why is that not reflected in the Republican bill?

The Democratic substitute puts five times more resources to really enable women to get educated, to work, to lift their families out of poverty.

I urge my colleagues to vote a “yes” on the substitute and a “no” on the Republican bill.”


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