House Speaker Nancy Pelosi toured a Worcester child care facility Thursday in a visit meant to highlight the importance of affordable child care.
The California Democrat was joined by U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, and also met with local parents.
During her appearance at the Rainbow Child Development Center she touted the recently approved investments in the child tax credit, affordable child care programs and early education passed under President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" plan. The center serves hundreds of at-risk children from the surrounding area.
"Now we want to extend, or make permanent, as many of those benefits as we can," Pelosi said.
Parents shared their personal, often emotional stories of struggling to make ends meet throughout the pandemic, and how federal support for child care helped them.
"It was definitely a stress reliever off my back, I was able to return back to work." Parent Gisele Lopez said.
Jessica Richards said, through tears, "My fiancé had lost his job ... and this money has helped to pay our bills, it had helped my children to come to Rainbow."
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McGovern, chair of the House Rules Committee, vowed to bring Democrats' bill adding hundreds of billions of dollars in support for child care to the floor as quickly as possible. He said he sees it as an investment in human infrastructure.
"This is the first time we have made this kind of investment ever in my career. I mean, this is historic if we can pass this," he said.
Analysts say that's a big if. With unanimous Republican opposition, Democrats have very narrow margins in both the House and Senate to try to get it passed.
Pelosi's visit to Worcester came after she delivered remarks at Smith College in Northampton Wednesday night.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.