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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-01)

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House on Tuesday passed Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer’s (IA-01) bipartisan Child Care is Economic Development Act of 2020. The legislation, cosponsored by Congressman Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), passed the full House on a voice vote.

“Too many hard-working families are being forced to pass on career opportunities simply because quality and affordable child care is impossible to come by,” Congresswoman Abby Finknenauer said. “The Child Care is Economic Development Act takes an important step in helping solve a problem that has been made significantly worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in rural Iowa.”

“I am happy to have found partners across the aisle, yet again, who are willing to help address the child care crisis, and who realize a full economic recovery includes ensuring working parents are able to go to work and feel comfortable their kids are in good hands,” Finkenauer said.

The bipartisan Child Care is Economic Development Act of 2020 would ensure plans to increase access to affordable, quality child care are included in federally supported Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS), aiding local communities in planning for and building affordable child care into their local economic development projects. 

Finkenauer’s legislation addresses concerns that scarce child care options are hurting economic opportunities in Iowa. Iowan Dan Levi, co-chair of the Black Hawk County Child Care Coalition, expressed those concerns in a Small Business Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship (RATE) subcommittee hearing chaired by Finkenauer earlier this year.

In September, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, under Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), advanced the legislation. DeFazio reiterated his support on Tuesday with the bill’s passage.

“Access to affordable child care is critical to economic development. More than half of American households live in child care deserts, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further limited child care opportunities,” Chairman DeFazio said. “I thank Congresswoman Finkenauer for recognizing this need and introducing H.R. 8326, bipartisan legislation that will ensure the accessibility of affordable, quality child care is considered in economic development plans. Congresswoman Finkenauer deserves all the credit for this legislation being passed by the full House today and making sure that the child care needs of working families are front and center.”