U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro have reintroduced legislation that is designed to double the $5,000 pretax limit that employees can set aside to help offset child care costs.
The Child Care Flex Spending Act would allow employees earning less than $150,000 annually to set aside up to $10,000 in pretaxed funds per year to help pay for child care. The benefit limit would be adjustable for inflation – the current $5,000 limit, which Congress passed in 1986, was fixed at that rate and the legislators argue it no longer meets current child care costs.
Murphy and DeLauro previously introduced this legislation in 2013, and Murphy unsuccessfully attempted to add the bill's provisions as an amendment in 2014 to the Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization Act. In announcing the bill, Murphy and DeLauro noted that married families in Connecticut spend approximately 13% of their annual income on child care and while single parents spending almost half.
"Families across Connecticut are already struggling to pay their bills, and the exorbitant cost of quality child care makes things that much more difficult," Murphy said. "Our legislation is a small fix to help families afford this vital necessity by doubling the amount of pretax money they can set aside in a flexible spending account."
"The biggest economic challenge of our time is that working families are in jobs that do not pay them enough to live on," DeLauro said. "They are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of necessities like child care, health care, prescription drugs, housing, college education, and the list goes on. Congress needs to help working families get ahead, and we can do that by helping them gain access to quality, affordable child care."