Press Releases

Rep. Porter Reintroduces Bill to Help Parents Run for Office

Congresswoman is the only Congressional Democrat who is a single mom of school-age kids

Today, Reps. Katie Porter (D-CA) and Nikema Williams (D-GA) reintroduced legislation to make it easier for parents and candidates of all incomes to run for office. The Help America Run Act would eliminate common financial barriers that candidates face by allowing campaign funds to be spent on health care premiums, child care expenses, and elder care costs. In 2019, the Help America Run Act passed in the House with unanimous, bipartisan support. 

“Congress works better when we reflect the diversity of the people we represent—not just those who can afford to run for office,” said Rep. Porter, the only single parent of school-age kids in the Democratic Caucus. “Campaigning can be a full-time job, and for parents who need child care or rely on their job to cover health care costs, the lack of employer-provided benefits can deter qualified candidates. My Help America Run Act would eliminate these obstacles and make it easier for the best and brightest Americans to run for office.”

“As a working mom, I know the importance of childcare. As a candidate, childcare was a line item in my campaign budget. As a Congresswoman, I have an obligation to dismantle the barriers working parents and caregivers face while seeking public office. The Help America Run Act clears a pathway to public service for working parents, which will help us build a more representative democracy,” said Rep. Williams. 

Candidates for federal office may currently receive a limited salary to cover living expenses while campaigning, but Congress has not clarified whether other employer-provided benefits—like health care and child care—are permissible uses of campaign funds. According to Pew Research, 85% of Americans agree that the cost of political campaigns makes it hard for good people to run for office. Rep. Porter’s Help American Run Act would eliminate these common financial hurdles that discourage parents and non-wealthy individuals from seeking elected office. 

Reps. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Mary Peltola (D-AK), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Jill Tokuda (D-HI), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) cosponsor the Help America Run Act

As a single mother of school-age kids, Rep. Porter has uniquely championed policies to support families. She’s introduced bipartisan legislation to nearly triple the amount of money families can set aside pre-tax to pay for child and elder care expenses. Congresswoman Porter also spearheaded the effort to remove a penalty that kept single parents from receiving the same child tax credit as a married couple. She continues to back 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.