Mikulski Applauds President Obama's Focus on Child Care Affordability
Senator notes past accomplishments and looks forward to continued progress on making child care more affordable for working families.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today praised President Obama’s plan to make child care more affordable for working American families.
“I applaud President Obama’s plan to make quality child care more affordable for working families. He is focused on helping American families get ahead, not just get by, and that’s what I’m fighting for too,” Senator Mikulski said. “Child care is something all families worry about, regardless of income or zip code.
“That’s why I support the President’s proposal to expand and simplify the child care tax credit by tripling the maximum childcare and dependent tax credit from about $2,000 to about $6,000. I also support his proposal for a $500 tax break for families with two parents working outside the home. Both would go a long way to putting more money in the family checkbook.”
On Thursday, President Obama unveiled his plan to make affordable, quality child care available to every working and middle-class family with young children. His proposal includes making a robust investment in the Child Care and Development Fund, tripling the maximum child care tax credit to $3,000 per young child and creating a new innovation fund to help states design programs that better serve families that face unique child care challenges. More information on the President’s plan is available from the White House here.
In her roles on the Appropriations and HELP Committees, Senator Mikulski has been an advocate for better access to affordable, quality child care for working American families. Last year, Senator Mikulski fought for appropriations funding for child care and development programs including the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), Head Start, Early Head Start and Preschool Development Grants. In fact, the fiscal year 2015 appropriations omnibus included a $75 million increase for the CCDBG program to help states implement key reforms that help working families gain access to quality, affordable child care.
Last year, Senator Mikulski worked with Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to refresh and reform the CCDBG program, which provides families of modest means with vouchers to help them pay for child care while parents go to work or attend school. Senator Mikulski’s CCDBG Act of 2014 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by the President. It was the first time the CCDBG program had been reauthorized since 1996. Her bill included key updates and reforms to improve the quality of child care programs across the country, including requiring states to strengthen health and safety standards, focusing on improving quality of child care provided, requiring annual inspections of child care settings and requiring background checks of child care providers. The bill also calls for the creation of a child care provider clearinghouse, much like a consumer guide, with information on all available care providers, including faith-based and community-based options. This consumer guide will help families choose the child care option that best meets their needs.
“I’m proud that our bipartisan piece of child care legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by President Obama, last year,” Senator Mikulski said. “The CCDBG program brings peace of mind to 1.5 million families every month – including 19,000 in Maryland – who rely on this program for child care.”
Also last year, Senator Mikulski co-sponsored Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) Child Care Tax Deduction bill. This bill would have allowed families to deduct the cost of child care as a business expense, helping middle class families pay for child care. It also would have allowed families to deduct up to $14,000 in child care expenses from the amount of taxes they owe.
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