Washington, D.C. – Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18) introduced legislation to provide greater flexibility to working parents with newborn children and expand access to paid leave for low-income workers. Specifically, the bill would amend the Child Care Entitlement to States (CCES) to allow eligible low-income parents the option of receiving a child care payment directly - as partial wage replacement - instead of child or infant care assistance.  

Under current law, CCES funds have specific allowable uses outlined in the program rules. Rep. LaHood's bill would expand these allowable uses providing low-income new parents the financial flexibility to use these funds as a partial wage replacement to stay home with their child. The bill will also provide oversight measures to ensure the benefit is being used correctly and help avoid fraudulent payments.

"Ensuring that working parents have the ability to choose how they care for their children, particularly a newborn, is vital to the long-term stability of a family and the success of a child," said Rep. LaHood. "I am proud to introduce legislation that provides the needed flexibility of child care dollars allowing low-wage workers the option to stay home with their newborn or utilize traditional child care programs.”

The legislation is part of an effort by Ways and Means Republicans to provide greater flexibility and choice to parents while focusing the most beneficial resources toward low-wage workers. In May, Ways and Means Republicans unveiled an early draft of the Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act in collaboration with Republicans on the Education and Labor Committee. The Republicans proposal increases access to paid family and medical leave and affordable child care, while rejecting one size fits all Washington mandates.

A one-page overview of the Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act can be read HERE.