rince George’s County, Md. – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Anthony G. Brown (Both D-Md.) toured the oldest child care center at Joint Base Andrews on Friday. The center, built in 1941, has endured sewage backup, heating/ventilation/air conditioning failures, and both mold and pest management issues. Portions of the facility are off limits due to roof leaks that have created multiple hazards. The child care center was scheduled to be replaced with a larger, more secure and modern facility until President Trump cancelled funding for the project to pay for a wall on our border with Mexico. Thirteen million in federal funds had been allocated for a new, highly anticipated, much-needed on-base childcare for children of service members. Senator Cardin and Congressman Brown were told Friday that over 200 children are on the waitlist for child care at Joint Base Andrews.
“It is outrageous that military families – military children – are being forced to pay for the president’s wall,” said Senator Cardin. “What the president is doing is unconstitutional. It’s a power grab, it’s against our national security, and it dishonors the men and women of our military. We must do better for these families.”
“Donald Trump promised Mexico would pay for his border wall, but now he is stealing money from military kids,” said Congressman Brown. “The families at Joint Base Andrews has been waiting for years for a modern and safe building, and now they’re being told to wait so that the President can fulfill a campaign promise. This abuse of power will hurt morale, degrade readiness and make America less safe. President Trump should not build his ineffective, xenophobic vanity project on the backs of our service members and military families”
According to Air Force documents requesting the funding for a new child development center, “Not providing this facility forces members to use more expensive, less convenient and potentially lower quality off-base programs. These off-base child development centers typically cost $9400 more than on-base, creating a severe financial strain on military personnel. Quality of life will be severely degraded resulting in impacts to retention and readiness because Airmen and their families will not have a safe and nurturing environment for child care.” Congress heard this request and therefore authorized and appropriated the Child Development Center in fiscal year 2019 spending bills. The President decided to ignore the will of Congress, and the needs of our service men and women’s child care needs.
Senator Cardin and Congressman Brown visit a classroom at Joint Base Andrews’ Child Development Center
The small kitchen in the Child Development Center is inadequate to prepare the required 100+ meals three times a day, particularly when it has had to shut down due to overflowing sewage in the building.