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Top Democrat calling for expansion of child care support

Top Democrat calling for expansion of child care support
© Greg Nash

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is calling for an expansion in child care as a way to remove "hidden barriers to workforce participation."

In Monday's letter, first obtained by Punchbowl News, Rep. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealDemocrats renew push for permanent child credit expansion IRS to start monthly payments of child tax credit July 15 GAO report finds maternal mortality rates higher in rural, underserved areas MORE (D-Mass.) writes that barriers to opportunity have been a "persistent evil for far too long" in the U.S.

"It is up to us to reimagine it in a way that puts workers and their families first, that makes it more equitable, and ultimately, sets Americans up for the better days that lie ahead. I look forward to pulling many of the levers within the Ways and Means jurisdiction to make this happen," Neal added.

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Neal points to "inadequacy of our caring infrastructure" as one of the barriers he would like to remove.

"Both our failing physical infrastructure and the impossible choices we impose on caregivers put our nation at a competitive disadvantage. If it is the road that gets you to work, it is the child care that gets you through the day, and workers are counting on these supports," Neal said. "This is our opportunity to reduce child poverty by permanently extending the changes to the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit that we made in the American Rescue Plan."

The American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed by President BidenJoe BidenBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE in March, temporarily boosted the child tax credit up to $3,600 per child under six and $3,000 for minors aged 6 to 17. Democrats like Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerPolice reform talks hit familiar stumbling block Almost 20 advocacy groups team up to pressure Congress to pass health care bill for immigrants Biden adds pressure to congressional talks with self-imposed deadlines MORE (N.J.) and Vice President Harris have praised the tax credit, with Booker saying in March he intended to try to make the expansion permanent.

"Child care needs to be a guarantee, not an expensive hassle that drives parents out of the workforce or makes them choose between wages and family. We will make it easier for people to find the care that fits their specific needs," Neal added in his letter.

Punchbowl notes that Neal took the lead when it came to the child tax credit and other pro-family provisions that were included in the most recent COVID-19 stimulus bill. In his letter, the Massachusetts Democrat also called for providing workers with the right to paid family and medical leave.

The news outlet added that the Tax Foundation estimated that Neal's proposal to make the child tax credit expansion permanent would cost an estimated $1.6 trillion over 10 years. The foundation wrote in its report that such a change would largely benefit lower-income households.