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What’s next as pandemic relief funding for child care comes to an end?

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What’s next as pandemic relief funding for child care comes to an end?

As the U.S. government narrowly avoided a shutdown this weekend, a different kind of high-stakes shutdown occurred on Saturday. In 2021, the U.S. government made its single largest investment in child care, committing $24 billion to fund the sector. However, that funding expired on Saturday, leaving over 220,000 providers without financial support. The child care shortage already costs families $78 billion per year and businesses another $23 billion per year. About 30 percent of providers who took the grants said they would close without the funds. Both Democrats and Republicans express support for affordable child care but differ on the best approach. Democrats propose committing $16 billion per year for the next five years, while the Chamber of Commerce favors tax credits. The child care crisis is expected to worsen, as the average annual cost of care for two children exceeds the average annual mortgage payment in 41 states. The cutoff in federal funding won’t immediately result in widespread shutdowns but will contribute to the continuing shortage of affordable child care services. The collaboration between pop star Taylor Swift and the National Football League (NFL) during a Kansas City Chiefs game indicates the merging of two major brands. After the game, sales of Chiefs player Travis Kelce’s jersey increased nearly 400 percent, and the game became the week’s most-watched telecast among female viewers ages 12 to 49. The NFL embraced Swift’s ardent fandom, and brands like Heinz released limited-edition products to capitalize on the moment. However, some conservative football fans express less excitement about Swift.

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