U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres Co-Leads Bipartisan Bill to Address Childcare Affordability

Feb 28, 2024
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) co-led the introduction of groundbreaking legislation to tackle the pressing issue of childcare affordability faced by families across the nation. The bipartisan measure, known as the Combatting High Inflation Limiting Daycare Act, or the CHILD Act, seeks to provide much-needed relief to hardworking American families struggling to meet the rising costs of childcare by doubling the annual contribution limit for tax-advantaged Dependent Care Flexible Savings Accounts (DCFSAs).

For too long, families have been burdened by soaring childcare expenses, with the average cost consuming a staggering 10% of a couple’s income in 2021 alone. Recognizing the urgency of this issue, Representative Torres partnered with Representatives Stephanie Bice (OK-05), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), and John Moolenaar (MI-02) to find a bipartisan, common-sense solution.

“Ensuring families can afford quality childcare without breaking the bank is a moral and economic imperative. In New York, the situation has become untenable for the vast majority of city residents and most of our friends and neighbors here in the Bronx. According to reporting from Business Insider last September, the average family in New York City spends over a quarter of their income on child care — per child. In the Bronx, the average monthly cost of child care for infants is $2,791. This is unacceptable,” said Congressman Torres.  “I am proud to join my colleagues today in introducing the CHILD Act. This bill represents a crucial step in supporting working parents and easing the financial burden on young families, and I urge all my colleagues in the House to join us in passing it.”

“At its core, the CHILD Act will make a real difference in the lives of families across our nation,” said Congresswoman Bice. “By addressing the outdated contribution limits for Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, we can provide much-needed relief to working parents and ensure that they have the resources necessary to support their families.”

“As a working mother, I understand the benefits high-quality childcare offers American families,” said Congresswoman Sánchez. “For many parents, childcare costs are a major financial burden that can derail their personal lives and careers. That’s why I appreciate Congresswoman Bice joining me to introduce legislation that would make childcare more affordable. Our bill, the CHILD Act, would help parents and caregivers focus on working to provide for their families.”

Key provisions of the CHILD Act include:

Increased Contribution Limit: Under the proposed legislation, the annual contribution limit for Dependent Care FSAs would be raised from $5,000 to $10,000 for joint filers and from $2,500 to $5,000 for separate filers. This significant increase will provide families with greater flexibility and financial assistance in covering childcare expenses, including after-school programs, daycare, and other dependent care services.

Annual Adjustment for Inflation: Unlike Health FSAs, the maximum contribution for Dependent Care FSAs has remained stagnant since 1986, with a maximum contribution limit of $5,000 per household. The CHILD Act also addresses this by instituting annual adjustments for inflation, ensuring that contribution limits keep pace with rising costs.

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