House Passes Landmark Lowey Child Care Bill With Bipartisan Support to Give Relief to Families & Child Care Providers and Bolster America’s Economic Recovery
Lowey’s Child Care for Economic Recovery Act would provide emergency relief to child care providers, support essential workers who need care for their kids, and increase access to affordable care for families
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 7327) in a bipartisan vote of 250-161. This legislation would make significant investments in the Child Care Entitlement to States, invest in long overdue infrastructure improvements to child care facilities, improve the tax code to better support hardworking families and child care providers, and reimburse the child and dependent care costs incurred by essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This bill will help families and child care workers across the country, and I call on my colleagues in the Senate to respond to the child care crisis by passing H.R. 7327 immediately so families, child care providers, essential workers, and our communities can get the assistance they need,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “We’ve known for years that quality child care makes all the difference. But even before the pandemic, hardworking families struggled to find and afford it, threatening our economic success and putting our children at a disadvantage. The pandemic has led to nearly half of child care providers – many of them women- and minority-owned small businesses operating on razor thin margins – to close their doors. Reopening their doors while protecting against the transmission of the virus is a matter of urgent necessity. Together with the Child Care is Essential Act – led by Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro and Chairman Bobby Scott – this bill is good for our babies and our budget.”
Through significant federal investments and newly refundable tax credits, the bill would meaningfully increase access to affordable, quality child care, which is a basic precondition of work for parents and caregivers, a vital part of re-hiring efforts, and fundamental for children’s healthy development and academic success.
Specifically, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act would:
- increase funds for the Child Care Entitlement to States program—for the first time in more than a decade—to $10 billion a year;
- invest $10 billion in infrastructure to improve child care safety;
- provide $850 million to states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories to fill gaps in dependent care for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- enhance the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, making it fully refundable and increasing the value of the credit so more families can access the support they need;
- provide funding for the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance program to support low-income families newly eligible for tax credits in filling out their tax returns;
- expand flexibility for dependent care flexible spending accounts;
- provide a new refundable payroll tax credit for child care providers;
- incentivize employers to keep child care workers on payroll with an expansion of the employee retention tax credit; and
- recognize all child care workers as essential.
Under the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, New York would receive an estimated $51.6 million from the $850 million nationwide for the Social Services Block Grant to reimburse essential workers who obtained child and dependent care in order to keep their communities safe. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president, New York would also receive an estimated $391 million in additional, mandatory funding from the Child Care Entitlement to States in 2020. This would be a 200 percent increase from current non-discretionary funding for an estimated total of $587 million in addition to millions for New York families eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
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.