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Trahan, House Take Bold Action to Ensure Access to Safe and Affordable Child Care for Families in Need

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) supported passage of both the Child Care is Essential Act and the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, two urgently-needed bills to provide child care relief for families and providers and, in turn, support the safe reopening of the U.S. economy.

“The evidence becomes clearer by the day that working parents cannot return to their jobs without access to safe, affordable child care,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “I’m proud to support both of these bills, which will make bold investments in keeping child care facilities open while also ensuring that necessary safety protocols are in place. We owe it to the parents who have sacrificed so much during this crisis to make these bills law so they can go back to work with peace of mind and provide for their families.”

Without adequate support from the federal government, Massachusetts could lose 51,646 licensed child care slots, approximately 34% of the child care supply. Prior to the spread of the coronavirus, Massachusetts providers could not ensure care for every child that needed it. With nearly three children per child care slot, working families lacked access to safe, quality child care. The spread of COVID-19 has only worsened this problem to the brink of catastrophe. Since the pandemic, it is now estimated that there are more than four children per child care slot. Without robust federal investments, the child care industry cannot provide the care needed to help Americans return to work.

If signed into law, Massachusetts stands to receive $648.6 million through the Child Care is Essential Act’s $50 billion stabilization fund for personnel costs, sanitation and cleaning, training, and other services needed to maintain or resume operation of child care programs. The legislation also includes:

  • Support for child care workers. This bill requires employers to keep child care workers on payroll at the same compensation level they were at pre-COVID as a condition of receiving stabilization grant funds;
  • Support for working families by requiring providers to relieve families of copayments or tuition;
  • Promotion of health and safety through compliance with public health guidance.Under this legislation, open providers would be required to meet health and safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local authorities.

The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act complements the first piece of legislation passed by the House today by providing ongoing federal investments and tax subsidies to help bring quality child care within the reach of families to support ongoing employment. Specifically, the bill:

  • Invests in child care to support working families, including $10 billion in infrastructure to improve child care safety, $850 million in support for family care for essential workers, and an increase in funding for federal child care programs;
  • Provides improved tax benefits for families and working caregivers. The legislation enhances the child and dependent care tax credit (CDCTC), expands the dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSA), and creates a new tax credit to help employees access quality, affordable child care;
  • Includes support for struggling child care providers. It includes a new refundable payroll tax credit for child care providers and incentivizes employers to keep child care workers on payroll, by expanding the employee retention tax credit (ERTC).

A summary of the Child Care Is Essential Act is here. A section-by-section summary of the bill is here.

A summary of the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act is here. A section-by-section summary of the bill is here.