ITHACA (WBNG) -- U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul were in Ithaca today to discuss a 50 billion dollar childcare spending bill. The bill would be part of the second COVID-19 relief package which Congress is currently working to pass.
Gillibrand stressed that the funding would stabilize the childcare industry for the next five months.
The bill would cover the increased cost of childcare due to the pandemic as well as ensure that parents who are going back to work have access to childcare, even if their children are learning virtually in the fall.
She says due to the nature of COVID-19 restrictions and the need to maintain social distancing combined with the closure of many centers, childcare availability in New York State could drop from one slot for every four kids in need, to one slot for every eight kids in need.
"What this 50 billion dollar package would do is build the resources we'd need to have childcare at it's full level for the next five months because on average it will take 9 billion dollars a month to meet all of the childcare needs during COVID," she said.
Lieutenant Governor Hochul stressed the importance of making childcare available to essential workers so they can do their jobs, calling childcare providers "the essential workers behind the essential workers."
Gillibrand also stressed the need for more women in Congress, saying she believes that having more lawmakers who are mothers would result in issues of childcare being taken more seriously.
"It's really important to have mothers in office and women or people who understand these dynamics and are willing to fight for them harder. This isn't a new problem but Congress is still woefully 25 percent female and we need to be 51 percent like the rest of the population," she said.
Gillibrand says she and Rep. Joe Morelle have also written a letter to the CDC asking for clearer and more adequate guidelines to keep teachers and children safe during the pandemic.