PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Working and paying for child care has become an issue for families across the Pacific Northwest and nation, but a Washington state federal lawmaker says she has some ideas for dealing with the crisis.

Many parents can’t​ go back to work even if they want to, because child care costs more than what they would be making if they did return to the workforce. On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray asked the federal government for a renewed commitment to affordable child care and to provide additional “critical funding.”

Murray says she will use her seat as Chair of the Appropriations to ensure a federal partnership that:

  • Makes childcare more affordable overall
  • Ensures there are facilities through grants to communities
  • Provides living wages to childcare workers
  • Puts a cap on what parents spend out of pocket

“Our child care system isn’t just stretched thin, it is broken,” Murray said. “We need to take the next step now, and I’ll be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”

Child care facilities are also struggling to make ends meet, unable to provide livable wages or healthcare to workers.

Murray and other child care advocates say more funding is needed if they want to get more child care workers in the pipeline.

Last month, Murray announced $1.8 billion in federal funding would go towards child care, a 30% increase. The senator says this will help serve 130,000 additional children.