Childcare and the 2020 election: What's at stake

Elen de Paula
  • The outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election could bring significant changes to childcare policies.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden wants to promote a caregiving economy with more tax incentives for working parents and childcare center construction.
  • President Donald Trump increased childcare tax incentives and wants billions more in block grants to help low-income families.

Parents are struggling to balance childcare with work as the economy attempts to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. That struggle has become a significant issue in the 2020 presidential election.

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have different approaches to childcare policy. Here is a brief summary of how the policies of the 2020 presidential candidates may affect childcare in the future:

Biden’s 2020 Childcare Proposals

Biden wants to make childcare a centerpiece of his Build Back Better plan, which aims to spend $775 billion over the next decade to bolster the caregiving economy.

Build Back Better would address childcare affordability in several ways:

  • First, it would aim to construct safe, energy-efficient childcare facilities through partnerships with states that would work with public school systems, childcare centers, family childcare providers and Head Start. 
  • The plan will create a new childcare construction tax credit to encourage businesses to build childcare facilities at workplaces. Employers will receive 50% of the first $1 million of construction costs per facility so that parents can enjoy the peace of mind and convenience that comes with on-site childcare.
  • Under Biden’s plans, low-income and middle-class families will get back as a federal tax credit as much as half of their spending on childcare for children under age 13, up to a total of $8,000 for one child or $16,000 for two or more children. These limits are in line with the average cost of childcare through the U.S. He also wants to expand Child Care Development Block Grant subsidies to increase the number of school-aged children up to age 13 in low-income families to expand access to after-school, weekend and summer care.

As a proponent of universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-old children, Biden also wants to adopt the childcare program outlined in Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Bobby Scott’s bipartisan Child Care for Working Families Act.

Trump’s record on childcare and 2020 Proposals

The Trump administration has increased childcare tax incentives and funded billions more in block grants to low-income families.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 doubled the Childcare Tax Credit for nearly 40 million families. The president’s tax reforms doubled from $1,000 to $2,000 per qualifying child. The refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit was increased from $1,000 to $1,400.

In 2018, Congress approved a historic increase of $2.37 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant for low-income families. Trump, who initially proposed cutting the program by $95 million, signed the increase into law. Trump’s fiscal 2021 budget proposes a one-time investment of $1 billion to increase childcare supply to underserved populations, including programs sponsored by employers.

The administration also supports the Senate GOP’s HEALS Act, which designates $15 billion for childcare, including $5 billion to childcare providers and $10 billion for “back to work childcare grants.” The Democrats’ House’s bill earmarks $7 billion for childcare through the Child Care and Development Block Grant, a fund typically used to subsidize childcare for low-income families with children under age 13.

Employers Play a Role in Creating a Better Childcare System

Childcare is one of the most significant economic issues Americans face. Regardless of the 2020 presidential election outcome, employers will need tailor-made childcare benefit programs to help working parents.

Arvorie’s platform can help employers maximize any tax incentives available under new legislation and programs. Currently, employers using our platform save up to 70 cents for every dollar invested in childcare program costs.

Employers that create better childcare benefit programs will boost productivity, lower turnover and enhance diversity and inclusion. An open, flexible and efficient program is more important as employers have more remote workers.

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