U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville
U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Lauren Underwood to support the child care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Child Care is Essential Act, H.R. 7027, would provide $50 billion in grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector so they can safely reopen and operate, according to a news release.

Underwood, D-Naperville, also supported the passage of the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, which would increase ongoing federal investments and tax benefits to help families afford child care.

“If we do not solve this child care crisis, our kids will suffer, our economy will suffer, and women in the workforce could be set back for generations,” Underwood said in the release.

She pointed to the struggles she saw firsthand when she visited a child care center in her district earlier this month.

“These essential workers are doing truly heroic work, and they deserve our support,” she said in the release.

Underwood said the funding provided in the legislation would require child care providers to continue to pay their workers and provide tuition and copayment relief for families.

The money would would help providers promote health and safety through compliance with health guidance and prioritize providers who work with underserved populations.

The legislation would require conducting oversight through robust reporting requirements and ensure grants are awarded equitably across child care settings, according to the release.

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