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Rep. Porter Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Make Childcare More Affordable

Congresswoman’s Family Savings for Kids and Seniors Act would allow families to set aside more pre-tax income for dependent care

Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) today introduced legislation to address the skyrocketing cost of childcare. Her bipartisan Family Savings for Kids and Seniors Act, which she introduced with Republican Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3), would more than double the amount of money families can set aside pre-tax in Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) to help pay for preschool, summer day camp, before or after school programs, and child or adult daycare.

WATCH Congresswoman Porter introduce this legislation on the House floor.

“As a single mom, I know firsthand that we have a childcare crisis in this country,” Porter said. “My constituents in the 45th Congressional District have asked me to help them make childcare more affordable. My bill offers families a way to keep more of what they earn to pay for the childcare and elder care that allows them to work, and the work that parents do adds to the vitality and strength of our economy. I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting America’s working families.”

“Caring for a child or an aging parent costs a significant amount of money, and can be a heavy load for working families to carry,” Herrera Beutler said. “I’m proud to join this bipartisan effort to offer families in Southwest Washington the ability to save money as they care for their kids and other dependent relatives. This legislation would increase the tax-free amount that families can set aside for expenses like child care, after-school programs, or adult care services. I’ll continue to work on commonsense measures like this that allow working families to keep more of their hard-earned money.”

Under current law, families can put up to $5000 of pre-tax income into Dependent Care FSAs. This limit has not been changed since 1986. The Family Savings for Kids and Seniors Act would adjust this limit to account for inflation. If this legislation had been enacted for 2019, families could have set aside $11,300 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 $10,750 per year. The annual cost for an infant averages over $15,000. Congresswoman Porter’s legislation has the support of the Orange County Child Care Association and Common Sense Kids Action.

Congresswoman Porter has been a champion of increasing access to affordable childcare. Last month, she introduced the Help American Run Act, which would explicitly allow campaign funds to pay for childcare expenses, making it easier for working parents to run for elected office. Provisions of this legislation were also included in the For the People Act, which passed the House earlier this month.