Chairman Neal Floor Remarks on the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act

Jul 29, 2020
Press Release
(As prepared for delivery)
 
M. Speaker, today we are considering H.R. 7327, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, which I introduced together with my friend and colleague, Chairwoman Lowey, as well as Representatives Davis, Clark, DeLauro, and Sanchez.
 
This legislation is particularly important as our country continues to face a national emergency. All around this country, our constituents are struggling to cope with the consequences of this pandemic—consequences made worse because of the disastrous policies of the current administration. People have lost loved ones and livelihoods. Many face new obstacles to working: pandemic restrictions, health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID, and, for millions of families, a lack of child care options.
 
Today we have the opportunity to help Americans overcome one of these hurdles to work, by supporting meaningful child care relief. Even before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, our nation’s child care system was strained. Millions of families had trouble finding quality dependent care, and when they did manage to locate it, they often discovered long waiting lists and out of reach prices. As it has with so many other pre-existing challenges, the pandemic has greatly intensified the stress on the child care system.
 
Now, daycare facilities are closing. In April, the National Association for the Education of Young Children conducted a survey of more than five thousand providers and learned that nearly half were completely closed. The Center for American Progress estimates that, without federal support, the pandemic could result in the loss of 4.5 million child care slots, which is almost half the national capacity.
 
Last week, I spoke with a group of working mothers. One told me that she fears we’re at risk of losing a generation of working parents. Others emphasized how “terrifying” their situations are, and how they lack choices they need to continue their careers and protect their children. Their words echo what we’ve heard from constituents all over this country.
 
Today’s bill tackles these problems through a combination of tax relief for parents and child care providers, grants to states, and support for essential workers’ child care needs.
 
Specifically, it will double the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and—for the first time—make it fully refundable so that low-income parents can access it like everyone else. It also establishes a refundable tax credit to help child care providers cover their fixed costs. It will help parents carry over their dependent care flexible spending account contributions to next year and expand the Employee Retention Tax Credit to help employers of domestic workers retain those employees.
 
This bill also triples the guaranteed federal child care funding from $2.9 billion to $10 billion a year for the next five years, temporarily suspending state match requirements. This will help more low- and middle-income families afford care.
 
In sum, I want to say to the parents of this country—we have heard you, loud and clear. This child care crisis is untenable, and it’s pushing many of you to the breaking point. Nothing cuts deeper than worry over our kids’ safety and well-being, and the choices you face are just too hard. You need and deserve help accessing safe and affordable care for your kids, and your ability to obtain it is an essential precondition of getting the economy moving again and helping it grow in the future. This bill provides unprecedented federal support for child care, because we are all in this together, and we’ve got your back.
 
I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation and reserve the balance of my time.

More on the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act is available HERE.
 
Chairman Neal and Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey’s (D-NY) CNN op-ed on the need for child care to re-open the economy can be found HERE.

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