Smucker Introduces Improving Access to Child Care Act

July 21, 2021
Press Release
Legislation repurposes TANF contingency fund to provide states a funding stream to expand child care options

Washington, DC – Representative Lloyd Smucker is announcing the introduction of the Improving Access to Child Care Act, legislation aimed at providing states a dedicated funding stream to support the expansion of child care efforts by reforming a current but ineffective program.  

The legislation would repurpose the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Contingency Fund to allow all states to use this funding stream to expand child care options for families in need.

“Millions of Americans remain out of the workforce. As our nation’s economy and labor market are slowly recovering from the devastation caused by the pandemic, Congress must act to provide assistance to help get Americans back to work. My legislation will reform the failing TANF Contingency Fund and provide states additional flexibility to expand child care options for families in need. I remain committed to working to reduce barriers to entering the workforce caused by an inadequate supply of safe and affordable child care options,” said Rep. Smucker. “I am hopeful my proposal to reform this failing program will garner bipartisan support to help provide families across the country the opportunity to find  high-paying jobs and live their American Dream.” 

Previous budget proposals from President Trump and President Obama have recommended the elimination or repurposing of the TANF Contingency Fund. The Trump administration described the TANF Contingency Fund as “ineffective.” The Obama administration noted the fund is “poorly designed” in their Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal. The TANF Contingency Fund was intended to have a limited scope to provide additional support to states experiencing financial hardships or increased unemployment. Despite the proposed limitations on the fund, the proposed Fiscal Year 2019 Budget noted: “all States except Wyoming have been eligible for the Fund in every month since June 2009.”

Smucker’s legislation was included in Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Rep. Kevin Brady’s “JOBS for Success Act” to help low-income families find work by providing job training and other resources to help parents secure good-paying jobs.