Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) released the following statement praising House passage of the Child Care Is Essential Act (H.R. 7027) and the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 7327), two pieces of legislation to provide child care relief for families and providers while supporting the safe reopening of the U.S. economy and protecting workers.
The two bills, which work hand-in-hand, are aimed at protecting and revitalizing the child care industry which has been devastated by the outbreak of COVID-19, leaving many facilities closed, workers laid off, and working families without a safe place to care for their little ones. In Florida alone, over 400,000 child care providers would have to close their doors without support from Congress.
The Child Care Is Essential Act, which passed the House today by a vote of 249-163, creates a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund which can be used by child care providers to pay the rent, mortgages, utilities, buy necessary cleaning supplies and PPE, hire more staff to reduce classroom size, modify classroom layouts, and provide employee health benefits and adequate pay – not only keeping their facilities open, but children and workers safe.
The second bill, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, which passed by a vote of 250-161, makes key investments in child care and provides tax subsidies to help bring quality, affordable care within reach of thousands of working families.
Together, the two bills feature:
- $50 billion child care stabilization fund;
- $10 billion to improve child care safety;
- Worker protections, requiring that employers continue to employ and pay their workers at pre-COVID-19 levels;
- Affordable child care by providing copayment and tuition relief to working families if their child care facilities take advantage of these grants;
- $850 million to support family care for essential workers;
- New tax credit to help employees access quality, affordable child care;
- Increased funding for federal child care program;
- Enhancement of the child and dependent care tax credit (CDCTC) and expansion of the dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSA);
- New refundable payroll tax credit for child care providers, to support struggling facilities stay open;
- Expanded employee retention tax credit (ERTC) to incentivize employers to keep child care workers on payroll.
“Working families are struggling as our nation continues to grapple with the impact from COVID-19,” said Rep. Crist
. “As we look to the future, we’ve got to discuss how families will care for their children when they are back at work. By making key investments in the safety of our children and those who care for them, we are creating a long term solution to reopening that puts our economy back on track and keeps Pinellas families safe.”