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Politics House approves two child care bills aimed at pandemic

03:54  30 july  2020
03:54  30 july  2020 Source:   thehill.com

Biden unveils 'caregiving economy' plan for expanded child care and home care

  Biden unveils 'caregiving economy' plan for expanded child care and home care Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday proposed new tax credits for those who care for children, seniors and disabled people and said he would build tens of thousands of new child-care facilities as part of a plan to bolster what his campaign called the "caregiving economy."Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday proposed new tax credits for those who care for children, seniors and disabled people and said he would build tens of thousands of new child-care facilities as part of a plan to bolster what his campaign called the "caregiving economy.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed two bills that provide over billion in direct funding for the child - care industry in an effort to help providers nationwide reopen and improve the safety of their programs during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic .

The bill will now go to the House for approval before it’s sent to President Donald Trump for his signature. Beshear said that is complicating the states’ response to the coronavirus pandemic . - Deirdre Shesgreen. Senate reaches deal on $ 2 trillion stimulus bill aimed at coronavirus.

The House passed two bills aimed at easing the financial burden for child care amid the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday.

Rosa DeLauro wearing a blue shirt: House approves two child care bills aimed at pandemic © Bonnie Cash House approves two child care bills aimed at pandemic

The first, titled Child Care Is Essential Act, would provide grant money to child care providers in an effort to help the facilities reopen safely amid the coronavirus pandemic and stabilize the sector's operations on Wednesday.

The second, called the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, includes a number of tax provisions that are aimed at making child care more affordable for families and providing assistance to child-care providers.

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Both bills passed in largely party-line votes.

No Democrats voted against the measures. Eighteen Republicans voted for the first bill, and 20 Republicans voted for the second one.

The first bill, which passed 249-163, creates a Child Care Stabilization Fund and allocates $50 billion to be used during and after the pandemic.

The fund would be established within the Department of Health and Human Services Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, with the grants being administered by the "existing CCDBG lead agencies of states, tribes, or territories."

Those eligible for the grants would receive funding based on the child care providers' operating costs ahead of the public health emergency, which would then be adjusted to account for additional costs they face due to the pandemic.

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The House of Representatives on Friday passed a sweeping bill to spend more than trillion for Covid-19 relief and a rules change to allow lawmakers to vote remotely during the coronavirus pandemic .

Caring for children or other dependents who are home because of COVID-19 school closures. Being quarantined or advised to self-quarantine. The PUA program, one of several federal initiatives aimed at helping people cope with the pandemic , could help you stay afloat financially if you’ve lost income

The bill also includes language to "provide relief from copayments and tuition payments for the families" who are struggling to make payments due to the financial hardships caused by the spread of COVID-19.

Proponents of the legislation said it is a critical step in helping struggling families and essential workers who can't afford private childcare, arguing it underscores the impact of the class divide in the United States.

"We have essential workers, who I pointed out, grocery workers, they're transit workers, the sanitation people, the retail workers who clock in and out every single day and who have to be on the job and they have been told if they don't show up they don't get paid. But they have kids, they have families," DeLauro said on the floor ahead of the vote.

"What is the main responsibility of a parent? The pride you take in making sure that your children are safe, that they are secure, that you are doing all you can for them to be able to survive. So what is your choice - leave your kid by themselves?"

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Democrats have whisked a .5 billion bill through the House aimed at improving conditions for thousands of families and other migrants whose Democratic leaders in the House are proposing tighter requirements for the care of unaccompanied refugee children as they try to pass a .5 billion

The pandemic accelerated an overdue discussion about the precarious nature of a health care system centered on private coverage tied to work and the need for more government intervention, according to more than a dozen Biden health care advisors, task force members and DNC platform committee

Critics argued that it was too costly and would create a burdensome process for those looking to apply for grants.

"As the country navigates the ongoing reality of the coronavirus pandemic, child care is one of the most important issues we have to resolve. Congress must put child care solutions in place to help working families address their needs, but this bill before us is not the answer," said Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Committee on Appropriation.

"This bill would appropriate $50 billion for the child care industry, more than its entire annual revenue. Overly burdensome and complicated application requirements would accompany those funds. This means providers would spend their time on applications and reporting requirements rather than caring for the children and keeping them safe."

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is leading the efforts on a companion bill in the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled chamber.

The second measure, approved in a 250-161 vote, would expand the child and dependent care tax credit, expand flexible savings accounts for dependent care, and create a new payroll tax credit for employee dependent care benefits that employers pay.

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Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is one of the federal CARES Act provisions that helps unemployed Californians who are not usually eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.

Learning pods and elementary school child care may support or replace remote learning, but experts say access inequity will widen the education gap. The unequal use of " pandemic pods" and child care options are likely to exacerbate the already devastating class and race divides in education.

It also would create a new payroll tax credit for mortgage, rent and utility expenses incurred by child-care facilities that have been affected by the pandemic. And it would expand the employee retention tax credit created by legislation enacted in March to allow employers to get the credit for wages they pay to domestic workers who have been unable to work because of governmental orders.

In addition to expanding and creating tax breaks related to child care, the bill would also increase funds to the Child Care Entitlement to States program, provide $850 million to states, the District of Columbia and territories to fill in gaps for child care for essential workers, and invest $10 billion from 2020 through 2024 to improve the infrastructure of child care facilities.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) argued that the bill would be helpful both for children and the economy. She said that some child care facilities are at risk of permanently closing.

"Every single industry counts on child care. In order to save our economy, we need to save child care," she said.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said the bill provides "unprecedented federal support for child care because we are all in this together."

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Republicans said they agreed with Democrats that access to child care is important, but criticized the bill as partisan.

"This is no more than a copy-paste of various Democratic child-care proposals, superficially edited to link to the pandemic, " said Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.).


Video: Coronavirus relief bill negotiations continue as benefits set to expire (CBS News)

Senators: You can't let COVID-19 leave women and people of color behind .
We cannot allow the mishandling of the pandemic by the Trump administration to undermine women’s role in our workforce and economy. The consequences are too great.Debra L. Ness is president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Fatima Goss Graves is the president and CEO of the National Women's Law Center. Rebecca Dixon is the executive director of the National Employment Law Project.

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