Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has recently talked about tax reform as a way to help families with costs associated with raising children. And yesterday during remarks on the Senate floor, he spoke specifically about the need to help families who are struggling with the cost of child care. However, instead of supporting provisions aimed at strengthening and expanding the only provision in the tax code specifically designed to help parents with work-related child care expenses – the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) – Sen. Rubio offered an amendment with the intention to eliminate it.
WHAT HE SAID: “How about child care? In 38 out of 50 States, child care is more expensive than college. Think about it. Let’s say you take home $900 a week, and child care is $250 or $350 a week. That is one-third of your paycheck just for child care. These expenses are reducing the ability of families to afford to have children and to raise them. These costs keep going up.”
WHAT HE DID: On Wednesday, Sen. Rubio offered an amendment to undermine a Budget Committee-approved measure creating a Deficit-Neutral Reserve Fund relating to affordable child and dependent care, which was originally proposed by Sen. Angus King (I-ME).
Sen. King’s provision, which was approved by the Senate Budget Committee and supported by Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY), would have allowed the Chairman to “revise the allocations… relating to making the cost of child and dependent care more affordable and useful for American families.” The amendment was tied to a bipartisan bill introduced earlier this year by Sen. King and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) – the Promoting Affordable Childcare for Everyone (PACE) Act – aimed at strengthening the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
Sen. Rubio’s amendment removes all mention of child and dependent care. Instead, he is reportedly proposing a potentially smaller pot of money for working parents through the Child Tax Credit (CTC) that families will have to spread across all of their household expenses – including child care.
While expanding the CTC is important, it is not tied to child care and CTC money may be used for any expense—even those not related to the costs of raising a child. If lawmakers really want to help families with the cost of child care, Congress must maintain the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit amidst efforts by some whose primary goal is to flatten the code,
increase its value sharply, and make the it refundable, so low- and middle-income
families can benefit.
Eliminating the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit is not a tax cut American families want.
Learn more: ffyf.org/tax