The Child Care Flex Spending Act (H.R. 5938) has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Connecticut Rep. Chris Murphy and co-sponsored by Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, both Democrats. The Act would allow families making less than $200,000 to set aside up to $10,000 per year to help pay for childcare costs and would be adjusted for inflation over time.
According to a joint press release, the purpose of the legislation is to help “provide access to affordable child care to middle-class and working families to help ease the financial pressures they face and ensure they can adequately meet both work and family demands.”
The press release states that since 1981, Congress has allowed employers to provide flexible spending accounts to their employees. These accounts give employees the option of setting aside money tax-free to pay for their dependent care needs. In 1986, these accounts were capped at $5,000, but not indexed to inflation, leaving middle class families struggling with ever-higher childcare costs.
Rep. DeLauro said. “The accounts that allow families to set aside up to $5,000, tax free, to help pay for childcare costs are extraordinarily helpful, but this $5,000 cap does not keep pace with rising costs.”
A report produced by Rep. Murphy’s office, examined the financial burden of child care in Connecticut. “This report confirms that childcare expenses are breaking the bank for too many families … and family budgets are already stretched too thin,” said Murphy. He said he believes “one of the best ways the government can help is to double the amount of pre-tax money families can put into flexible savings accounts.”