Amid Unprecedented Child Care Challenges Due to the Coronavirus, Underwood-Backed Legislation to Help Providers Safely Operate Passes the House

July 30, 2020
Press Release
The Child Care is Essential Act supports struggling child care providers, workers, and families while supporting the safety of child care facilities

WASHINGTON— Yesterday, legislation co-sponsored by Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) to support the child care sector during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic passed the House of Representatives. The Child Care is Essential Act, H.R. 7027, would provide $50 billion in grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector so that providers can safely reopen and operate. Additionally, Underwood supported the passage of the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, HR. 7327. The legislation would increase ongoing federal investments and tax benefits to help bring affordable, quality child care within reach for more working families.

“If we do not solve this child care crisis, our kids will suffer, our economy will suffer, and women in the workforce could be set back for generations. I saw the challenges child care providers are facing firsthand when I visited Building Blocks Academy in Batavia earlier this month. These essential workers are doing truly heroic work and they deserve our support,” said Underwood. “The legislation passed today will deliver urgently-needed relief to child care providers so they can reopen safely and help protect the future of our child care sector.”

A full video of Underwood’s remarks on the Child Care is Essential Act can be found here.

The new Child Care Stabilization Fund in the Child Care is Essential Act would provide grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector and support providers to safely reopen and operate. These grants would help child care providers and working families by:

  • Ensuring that the grants adequately support providers’ operating expenses and funding gets to them quickly;
  • Requiring that providers continue to pay their staff;
  • Providing tuition and copayment relief for working families;
  • Promoting health and safety through compliance with public health guidance;
  • Prioritizing providers that serve underserved populations;
  • Ensuring grants are awarded equitably across child care settings; and
  • Conducting oversight through robust reporting requirements.

The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act would:

  • Enhance the child and dependent care tax credit (CDCTC);
  • Expands the dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSA);
  • Provide a new refundable payroll tax credit for child care providers;
  • Increase funds for the Child Care Entitlement to States program;
  • Support family care for essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis; and
  • Invest in infrastructure to improve child care safety.