(KION) Congressman Jimmy Panetta announced that the Child Care is Essential Act, which aims to help providers stay open and operate safely, has passed in the House.
He said only 29% of child care providers in Monterey County are open and operating currently.
The bill would help them by providing grant funding. It would create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund, and providers can use the grants for costs related to reopening and staying open.
"The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the child care sector, causing temporary and permanent closures of child care providers and exacerbating the shortage of quality, affordable child care for working families. We in the House recognize the urgent need to support child care, which is why we advanced these two urgently-needed bills to provide child care relief for families and providers and support the safe reopening of the U.S. economy," Panetta wrote in a social media post.
Panetta said the bill also protects workers by requiring child care providers to continue employing and paying employees at the same rate as before the pandemic and keeps child care affordable by requiring providers to give relief from copayments and tuition to families.
Another bill passed in the House is the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act. Panetta said the bill provides federal investment and tax subsidies to working families to bring child care within their reach, support employment and give tax credits to providers affected by shutdowns.