WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, along with her colleagues, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) introduced H.R. 7327, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, legislation to expand the availability of quality child care, help workers return to their jobs when it is safe, and enable America’s economy to recover from the COVID-19 recession.
Through federal investments and tax subsidies, the bill increases ongoing access to safe, affordable child care, which is a basic precondition of work for parents and caregivers and a vital part of re-hiring efforts.
Specifically, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act:
- Enhances the child and dependent care tax credit;
- Expands dependent care flexible spending accounts;
- Creates a new tax credit to help employees access quality, affordable child care;
- Provides a new refundable payroll tax credit for child care providers;
- Incentivizes employers to keep child care workers on payroll with an expansion of the employee retention tax credit;
- Increases funds for the Child Care Entitlement to States program;
- Parlays federal investments into better child care options for working families;
- Provides $850 million to states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories to fill in gaps in dependent care for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- Invests $10 billion in infrastructure to improve child care safety.
“Child care is a key component of our country’s economic infrastructure but, for too long, we’ve failed to treat it that way. Now, the coronavirus has brought this vital sector of our economy to its breaking point. No longer can we push child care aside,” said Congresswoman Clark. “By expanding access to care and easing the financial burdens placed on parents and employers, we can reopen and recover from this public health crisis without leaving kids, parents, and businesses behind. We must act quickly to pass this legislation.”
Since Congresswoman Clark’s introduction of the Child Care is Infrastructure Act, it has been filed three times demonstrating the House’s overwhelming commitment to the legislation. It was first introduced as a standalone bill on June 16th, then it was included in the House’s infrastructure package, the Moving Forward Act and finally, as part of today’s Ways & Means bill.
“Coronavirus has exacerbated America’s child care crisis. Millions of working families around the country are struggling to access the quality, affordable child care needed for a return to work and the reopening of the U.S. economy,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey. “The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act improves access to quality child care during and beyond the coronavirus pandemic. Through smart, bold federal investments and tax provisions, the legislation will bring much-needed relief to financially struggling child care providers, to families who need child care so they can return to work, and to the U.S. economy, which depends on a fully engaged workforce and quality early childhood education.”
“Without access to safe, affordable child care, American workers simply won’t be able to return to their jobs. Ensuring this care is available for families is essential for our economy’s reopening,” said Ways and Means Chairman Neal. “The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act recognizes the critical role child care plays in our nation’s economy. Through bold federal investments and tax incentives for working families and employers, we make the availability of safe, affordable care both a priority and a reality. This legislation is a key piece of our nation’s economic reopening strategy, and I urge its swift passage in both the House and Senate.”
“Prior to the pandemic, federal funding only provided child care for one in six eligible children,” said Congressman Davis. “Parents in communities weighed down by poverty and systemic racism experienced a shortage of high-quality, affordable child care. Today, we face a global pandemic that has disproportionately infected and killed people in these same struggling communities, and the child care crisis we had before is now much, much worse. Now is the time for this Congress to take meaningful action to ensure that high-quality child care is available to all who need it.”
“There can be no return to normal for our families if children cannot return to child care. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the importance of high quality, affordable child care for millions of working families across our country and has pushed our already struggling child care system to the brink of disaster,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “If families don’t feel confident that their kids are going to be in a safe and secure learning environment, we’re not going to get our economy back on track. The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act sets our nation on a path to improve child care during this crisis and beyond.”
"Working families across the country were scraping by with child care expenses before their lives got turned upside down by a deadly pandemic," said Congresswoman Sánchez. "Now, we are asking workers – many disproportionately impacted by the virus – to return to the job site without any solution for how their kids will be cared for going forward. We desperately need safe, widespread, affordable child care, and this legislation rises to meet that challenge. Congress must act quickly to make a serious investment in child care, which is critical to our economic recovery."
A fact sheet on the legislation is available HERE.
A section-by-section summary of the legislation can be found HERE.
Legislative text is available HERE.