BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark, the assistant speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said she believes it is “fundamental to our economy” that financial support is provided to the childcare industry.

Clark is re-upping a bill that would provide $10 million in grants to renovate childcare facilities and loans to support the industry. The bill previously passed the House but did not advance any further.

According to Clark, childcare has been one of the industries that has been ignored and underfunded “for too long.”

“It can be very expensive for consumers, for parents to access. And a predominantly woman and woman of color workforce is notoriously underpaid,” Clark said. “So we took an industry that was hanging on by threads in the best of times, and in the pandemic we saw job loss by the hundreds of thousands. And that really has an impact on an entire workforce and business community. Childcare is infrastructure. It is fundamental to our economy. It will be fundamental to reopening our economy.”

Clark was asked about the American Rescue Plan, saying there are some aspects of the plan that Democrats hope to make permanent.

WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller asked Clark if she has thought about potential inflation concerns.

“Inflation is not something that will just happen without any ability to control it. What we are going to do is keep our eye on this and use the financial levers if we have to to make sure we contain it. This is very much within our ability to do,” Clark said.

Clark was also asked about the rift between Gov. Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts teachers unions over the state’s mandated return to in-person learning and educators’ calls for vaccine prioritization.

“I think if we have not vaccinated our very most vulnerable populations at this point, we shouldn’t be blaming teachers we should be looking at our rollout,” Clark said. “If we are saying schools have to reopen in April, let’s make sure we’re protecting our teachers.”


Original story here.