Child care group establishes $40 million initiative to help Democrats


A liberal political organization that promotes economic policies for working families, the Campaign for a Family-Friendly Economy, will spend $40 million to support the re-election bid of President Biden and other Democratic House and Senate candidates.

Announced Monday morning, the program is the largest political investment by the Democrats' allied organization, which aims to help Biden and raise the profile of economic issues such as the cost of child and elder care in the 2024 campaign. While those remain voters' top concerns, they have not yet emerged as a central focus of Biden's re-election efforts.

The group's plans, first shared with The New York Times, call for mobilizing a broad swath of Democratic and independent voters in states that will be important for the presidential election and control of Congress: Georgia, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin . . In addition to the president, the Campaign for a Family-Friendly Economy plans to support Democratic candidates who support policies including paid family medical leave, lower-cost prescription drugs, and affordable child and elder care.

“You'll be hard-pressed to find a kitchen table where people aren't discussing the high cost of care and especially child care,” said Sondra Goldschein, executive director of the group's political action committee. “People don't know what Biden and the Democrats have done to help with things like child care, and that's where we come in.”

Early in his term, the Biden administration pushed $24 billion to help keep daycares open, as part of a rescue package to combat the pandemic. Those funds expired in September.

Since then, Biden has failed to deliver on his initial promises to make child care more affordable for families. Proposals that would have provided preschool education to more than six million 3- and 4-year-olds, subsidies for child care and health care, and monthly payments for families with children failed to win support in Congress. Biden ultimately abandoned those legislative plans in favor of bolstering infrastructure and environmental spending.

In April, Biden signed an executive order directing federal agencies to find ways to make child care cheaper and more accessible, in an effort to advance his stalled promise.

J. Glenn Hopkins, president of Hopkins House, a day care center in Virginia, said he lost more than half of his employees during the pandemic. He has had difficulty recruiting qualified teachers and child care providers.

“Where we are now after the pandemic, we are no better than where we were before the pandemic,” said Hopkins, who supports the Campaign for a Family-Friendly Economy. “We're still looking for quality people.”

Goldschein believes her group's efforts can help build political momentum to make affordable child care policies a reality, should Biden win re-election.

“We really believe that the way to ensure that this gets over the finish line is to pick that Democratic trifecta and do it in a way that demonstrates that this is the issue that matters to voters,” he said. “We're very focused on generating that political momentum.”

As the 2024 campaign begins to shift gears toward a likely rematch between Biden and former President Donald J. Trump, other liberal organizations have made a series of spending announcements. VoteVets, a group that supports veterans running for public office, will spend $45 million to support Biden and other Democratic candidates. Future Forward, the main Democratic super PAC supporting Biden's candidacy, has a $250 million ad campaign planned. Last month, liberal advocacy group MoveOn unveiled its $32 million program.

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