Rep. Cuellar Works to Strengthen Child Care During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Two bills provide relief for families and providers while supporting the safe reopening our economy

Texas Border Business

Washington, D.C.— Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) co-sponsored and voted for two bills that will strengthen the child care industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Child Care is Essential Act will create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund within the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. This much-needed legislation is complemented by the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, which provides ongoing federal investments and tax subsidies to help bring quality child care within the reach of families to support ongoing employment.

“COVID-19 has devastated the child care sector, causing temporary and permanent closures of child care providers and exacerbating the shortage of quality, affordable child care for working families,” said Congressman Cuellar. “That’s why I co-sponsored two urgently-needed bills to provide immediate child care relief. Together, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act and the Child Care is Essential Act will help stabilize the child care sector and support providers, workers, and the U.S. economy through improved access to quality child care during the COVID-19 crisis. 

“As a senior Member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fund programs that protect of families as we work together to safely reopen our economy. I want to thank Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro and Education for spearheading the Child Care is Essential Act. I also want to thank Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey and Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal for their leadership on the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act.”

Child Care is Essential Act

The Child Care is Essential Act provides grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector and support providers to safely reopen and operate. It creates a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund within the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. Providers can use these grants for a wide range of costs to reopen and stay open.

Texas would receive more than $5.3 billion from the Child Care is Essential Act to help child care providers stay open, keep employees on payroll, and safely operate under new guidelines.

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The Child Care is Essential Act includes:

  • Stabilization grants for personnel costs, sanitation and cleaning, training and other goods and services needed to maintain or resume operation of the child care program. 
  • Support for child care workers. This bill requires employers to keep child care workers on payroll at the same compensation level as pre-COVID as a condition of receiving stabilization grant funds. 
  • Support for working families by requiring providers to relieve families of copayments or tuition. 
  • Promotion of health and safety through compliance with public health guidance. Under this legislation, open providers would be required to meet health and safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local authorities. 

A summary of the Child Care Is Essential Act is here. A fact sheet of the bill is here.

Child Care for Economic Recovery Act

The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act makes significant, ongoing federal investments in child care to support children and working families. The legislation invests $10 billion in infrastructure to improve child care safety, provides $850 million to support family care for essential workers, and increases funding for federal child care programs.

The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act provides improved and fairer tax benefits for families and working caregivers. The legislation enhances the child and dependent care tax credit (CDCTC), expands the dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSA), and creates a new tax credit to help employees access quality, affordable child care. It also includes a new refundable payroll tax credit for child care providers and incentivizes employers to keep child care workers on payroll, by expanding the employee retention tax credit (ERTC).

A summary of the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act is here. A fact sheet of the bill is here.

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