Measures to Strengthen Child Care Availability Gaining Steam in Congress

July 17, 2020

With an eye toward helping working parents as many schools resume only virtual classes this fall, Congressional initiatives to help child care providers and employers are moving forward along two tracks.

Grants to providers and tax credits for employers:

  • Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have introduced the Back to Work Child Care Grants Act of 2020, which would provide nine months of financial assistance for providers to open safely.

  • The Child Care Is Essential Act (H.R.7027), sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) with 110 Democratic cosponsors, would create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund for grants to childcare providers during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency.

  • The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act (H.R.7327), sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), would increase and make refundable the child and dependent care tax credit; increase the exclusion from employee income for employer-provided dependent care assistance; and allow employers payroll tax credits for certain fixed expenses of child care facilities closed due to COVID-19.

Outlook:  The likelihood that grants to child care providers will be in the next COVID relief bill increased substantially with the introduction of the GOP bill in the Senate, and it is quite possible the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act could be in the final measure as well.