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Congresswoman Porter Reintroduces Proposal to Lower Child Care Costs for Families

Bipartisan bill would nearly triple the amount families can set aside pre-tax for dependent care

This week, Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) reintroduced bipartisan legislation with Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) to nearly triple the amount of money families can set aside pre-tax for child and elder care expenses. According to a recent study, Orange County families have been hit especially hard by rising child care costs. The median annual cost for an infant’s care is over $19,000, while parents with a preschool-aged child can expect to pay $13,000 each year.

“Child care is essential to keeping parents in the workforce and growing our economy,” said Rep. Porter, a single mom of three school-aged kids. “I know firsthand how tough it can be to get and pay for quality child care, and the federal government should be doing all we can to help with what is an essential expense for many families. I’m proud to work across the aisle to support working parents and lower child care costs for families.”

“The state of child care access is dire,” said Rep. Hinson. “Too many working parents – particularly women – have told me that the high cost of child care is the greatest barrier to remaining in the workforce and furthering their careers. This bipartisan solution will help parents save tax-free for child care expenses and make life more affordable for working families in Iowa.”

Since 1986, families have been permitted each year to set aside $5,000 pre-tax in a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account that can be used on child or adult care costs. Aside from a temporary increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, this deduction hasn’t changed for over three decades. Rep. Porter’s Family Savings for Kids and Seniors Act would nearly triple this pre-tax deduction for families. If her proposal is enacted for the 2023 tax year, families could set aside $13,919 pre-tax for dependent care expenses like preschool, summer camp, before- or after-school programs, and child or adult care. 

The Family Savings for Kids and Seniors Act is also cosponsored by Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), and Tom Cole (R-OK). The bill is endorsed by First 5 Orange County and the National Taxpayers Union.

A single mom of young children, Congresswoman Porter has been a consistent advocate for families. She’s introduced legislation that would eliminate a restriction on how much time off a married couple with the same employer can take to care for a new child or ailing parent. Rep. Porter has also backed a number of proposals to lower child care costs for Americans, including capping child care costs at 7% of a family’s income and providing communities with resources to expand child care facilities and hire more workers.