WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressional members are looking at how to get people back into the workforce. While most say the pandemic didn’t help, some are pointing the finger at a lack of affordable and accessible child care.  

In a senate hearing, one Columbus, Pennsylvania small business owner spells out the challenges COVID had on his glass decorating company.  

“For example, one of my key employees Alexis last two weeks without pay during our peak season at Christmas time last year when her primary care provider,” said Walt Rowen, the President of Susquehanna Glass Company, who is also part of the Small Business for America’s Future. “Her father-in-law was exposed to COVID and had to quarantine for two weeks. So Alexa stayed home for two weeks because she didn’t have any childcare options in my hometown. This happened multiple times for many of my key employees over the last two and three years.”  

“He said although supply chain interruptions contributed to increasing his prices for the first time in five years, he’s also blaming on reduced production capacity.  

“In a national survey from more than a thousand business owners in our network, 56 percent of small business owners have said they’ve lost business income as a result of childcare issues,” said Rowen. 

Lawmakers seem split on how to address this.  

“Here’s what I've never seen the wisdom of President Biden and his Build Back Better bill basically said his solution to reducing cost of child care is to have the federal government take it over and have the federal government make it twice as expensive if you’re going to pay child care workers like you’re going to pay school teachers you’re going to spend a lot more money,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R- LA). “That doesn’t make any sense to me.”   

“The proposal that the congressional democrats have developed will provide much needed help for childcare providers, allowing them to hire more workers and to offer higher quality care to more families,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D- MA). “Universal childcare is pro family and pro business.”  

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit, five percent of parents in Pennsylvania and four percent of parents in New York with young kids said they’re not working because they have to care for kids not in school or day care.