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‘Strolling Thunder’ comes to DC, urging lawmakers to prioritize early childhood needs

US Capitol

These constituents are still learning their ABC’s, but they’re already taking a big stand on Capitol Hill.

Tuesday, dozens of babies and their parents visited DC as part of the ‘Strolling Thunder.’ It’s a national movement of families through the nonprofit, ZERO TO THREE, urging lawmakers to prioritize the needs of young children. This includes expanding early Head Start, better maternal healthcare and creating a national paid family leave program.

“Think about the families that are affected, think about the long-term effects of having unpaid family leave,” said Tanesha Williams, a mother from Maryland.

It all comes as recent polling shows 87 percent of parents with young children say addressing these needs should be a top priority for Congress.

“It’s real, we’re real families impacted by these policies that need to go into effect,” said Williams.

Mariah Burnley said she wants Congress to also invest more in childcare.

“These children are our future, and we have to support them now so we can have that successful future,” said Mariah Burnley from West Virginia.

She runs one of five daycare centers in her town, and she said the businesses can’t keep up with high demand.

“We have to have affordable tuition for our families, and we need a pay that is worth our while for our staff,” said Burnley.

Some congressional committees are already examining this issue.

“Bidenomics and high cost of living has forced families to pay higher prices for childcare,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, R – Iowa.

During this hearing, Senator Ernst said she wants to explore various options for addressing this need.

“The answer to this challenge is not a Washington driven, pricey one size fits all solution. Common sense fixes and a favorably regulatory environment can increase access to childcare,” said Ernst.

One proposal on Capitol Hill would reinstate the fully refundable child tax credit. It was introduced in the House but it’s unclear how quickly Congress will take it up for a vote.

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