Senator Ernst is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is supporting the bipartisan, bicameral Expanding Childcare in Rural America (ECRA) Act of 2023 to expand childcare access in agricultural and rural communities.
“When I’m traveling from River to River across Iowa I hear from employees and small business owners who want more childcare options in rural Iowa. Our efforts will empower childcare centers in our agriculture communities to invest in facility development and staff training opportunities to ensure quality childcare options are available to every family. Keeping my promises to take on this issue, I will continue to work with my colleagues to remove burdens on parents by expanding opportunities for providers in every corner of the state,” said Senator Ernst, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
The Expanding Childcare in Rural America Act would direct U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development to authorize and prioritize projects that address the availability, quality, and cost of childcare through the following programs:
In March, Ernst, Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee, also led the Child Care Small Business Investment Act, an effort to make non-profit child care providers eligible for 7(a) and 504 loan programs under the SBA, so long as they are licensed by the state and their employees have had criminal background checks. This legislation would also ensure that religiously-affiliated non-profits qualify for these loan programs.