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Rep. Porter Reintroduces Bill to Help Families Pay for Childcare

Congresswoman’s bipartisan legislation would more than double what families can set aside pre-tax for dependent care

Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) today reintroduced legislation to help families with high childcare costs. Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler (WA-3) joined Porter in reintroducing the Family Savings for Kids and Seniors Act, which more than doubles what families can set aside pre-tax to pay for preschool, summer day camp, before or after school programs, and child or adult daycare.

“The way COVID-19 has pushed moms out of the workforce reminds us that policymakers have long neglected to get America’s families the help they need,” said Porter, a single mom of three. “Childcare costs have only worsened since I introduced this bill two years ago, and our economy won’t be globally competitive unless we strengthen support for working parents. To help families during and after this pandemic, we need to invest in childcare.”

“As working families continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear they will need every available tool at their disposal to help care for their children and aging parents,” Herrera Beutler said. “I’m proud to again help lead this solution allowing folks to double the amount of pre-tax money they can set aside for child care, after school programs, and dependent care. I’m committed to fighting for solutions in Congress that allow Southwest Washington families to keep more of their money in their pockets and get through this challenging time.”

Since 1986, families have been able to put up to $5000 of pre-tax income into Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, but this limit has not been changed for 35 years. Porter’s Family Savings for Kids and Seniors Act would adjust the limit to account for inflation. If this legislation had been enacted for 2020, families could have set aside $11,800 of pre-tax income to pay for dependent care.

An analysis by the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network found that the average cost to send a preschooler to a childcare center in Orange County, California is over $12,000 per year. The annual cost for an infant averages over $17,000. Porter’s legislation has the support of the First 5 Orange County and the National Taxpayers Union.

A single mom of young children, Congresswoman Porter has been a consistent advocate for families. Last month, she hosted a roundtable discussion with representatives from childcare providers and parent teacher associations to hear directly about the hardships they’re facing during the coronavirus pandemic. In July, she introduced legislation that would make it easier for Americans serving as caregivers to get relief if their children or other dependents are unable to go to school or a childcare facility because of the pandemic. She’s also introduced the bipartisan FAIR Leave Act, which would remove a marriage penalty from federal family leave policy.