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Senators: This Policy Will Reduce Child Poverty and Create Jobs

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a bill to expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to help families pay for the costs of child care. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit Act would also help increase employment rates and the earnings of parents, as well as reduce child poverty. According to the National Women’s Law Center, low income families spend almost one-third of their income on child care. A robust and fully refundable Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit will support working parents, reduce child poverty and could increase net employment by more than 500,000 jobs, according to analysis from the National Academies of Sciences.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further illustrated the critical need to help families obtain quality and affordable child care. The Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve found COVID-19 has disrupted child care arrangements for millions of parents; one in five working-age adults cited child care as a reason they were not working, with disproportional impacts falling on women. Access to safe, affordable child care is essential to our economic infrastructure and our Nation’s economic recovery.

“In the midst of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, millions of parents are even more worried about how they are going to pay the rent, put food on the table, keep the heat on or afford the cost of child care,” said Senator Casey. “Expanding the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and making it fully refundable will reduce poverty, create jobs and provide support that will lessen the financial strain that many families are facing. It is critical that we pass this commonsense legislation.”

“Families are facing unprecedented struggles in getting quality child care—and this bill will put more money in their pockets so they can afford the child care they need,” said Senator Murray. “I’ll keep fighting to support working families and the child care sector during this crisis, make access to affordable, quality child care a reality for every family, and guarantee livable wages for early educators.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on our broken child care system, which has been failing working parents for decades,” said Senator Wyden. “Working parents are on their own and at their breaking points, left to patch together child care arrangement day by day. Our bill would go a long way to giving working parents the resources they need to manage the needs of work and family.”

The Child Care and Dependent Credit Enhancement Act would:
• Make the full Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit available to most working families: This bill would make the full credit available to families with income under $125,000. The current phase-down of the credit begins at $15,000 of income;

• Put more money into a family’s pocket: The bill increases the maximum credit from $1,050 to $4,000 per child (age 0-13), up to $8,000;

• Ensure lower income families see a benefit: The bill would make the credit fully refundable to make sure those with the greatest need see a benefit;

• Retain the value over time: The bill would index benefits to inflation to ensure they keep up with ever-growing costs; and

• The credit fully phases out for incomes above $440,000 a year.

In addition to Senators Casey, Murray and Wyden, the following Senators support the bill: Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Read the bill here.