Butterfield Votes to Pass Two Bills to Support Child Care in North Carolina
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) voted to pass two critically needed bills, H.R. 7027, the Child Care is Essential Act, and H.R. 7327, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act. These bills will address the child care crisis in North Carolina and across the country by providing relief to working parents and the child care industry and supporting providers in safely reopening and operating through the COVID-19 pandemic.
A robust, accessible, and stable child care industry is not only critically important for working parents but for the providers themselves. The current pandemic not only disproportionately impacts minorities from a health perspective, but also from an economic perspective. Across the country, half of all child care businesses are minority-owned and minorities make up forty-five percent of all child care workers. The collapse of the child care industry will disproportionately impact women and minorities, further exacerbating economic inequality.
H.R. 7027 creates a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund to ensure that child care providers are able to operate safely during the pandemic and to help other providers who temporarily closed to reopen their doors. The grant funding could be used for personnel costs, sanitation and cleaning, training and other goods and services needed to maintain or resume operation of the child care program. The bill requires employers to keep child care workers on payrolls at the same pre-COVID compensation levels, relieve families of copayments or tuition, and follow health and safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local authorities as conditions of receiving stabilization grant funds.
H.R. 7327 provides emergency funding for the child care-related needs of essential workers during the pandemic. It includes $850 million in funding for the Social Services Block Grant and $10 billion in funding for the Child Care Development Fund. These funds will provide targeted support to essential workers who need access to funds for child care and adult day care and grants to states to adapt, expand, and reconfigure child care facilities and infrastructure in response to coronavirus. The bill also makes the child and dependent care tax credit fully refundable and increases the maximum credit rate to 50 percent; increases the guaranteed funding level for the Child Care Entitlement to States from $2.9 billion to $10 billion per year from FY 2020 through FY 2024 and waives the requirement that states match the new funding in 2020 and 2021; and provides a 50 percent refundable payroll tax credit for rent, mortgage, and utility costs, incurred by qualified child care facilities subject to closure.
“We cannot talk seriously about reopening our economy without addressing how families will care for their children,” said Butterfield. “I’m proud to join my House colleagues in being part of the solution. By enacting these bills, our nation can take a step toward safely reopening and rebuilding our economy. It’s now up to Senate Republicans to act boldly and join House Democrats in protecting working families and finding real solutions to safely reopen our economy.”
Without adequate support from the federal government North Carolina could lose 143,946 licensed child care slots, approximately 44% of the child care supply. The $1,686,533,357 North Carolina would receive from the Child Care is Essential Act would help child care providers stay open, keep employees on payroll, and safely operate under new guidelines.
Prior to the spread of the coronavirus, North Carolina could not provide care for every child that needed it. With 2.24 children per child care slot, working families lacked access to safe, quality child care. The spread of COVID-19 has only worsened this problem to the brink of catastrophe. Since the pandemic, it is now estimated that there are 4.00 children per child care slot. Without robust federal investments, the child care industry cannot provide the care needed to help Americans return to work.
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