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Iowa House Republicans have found solutions to tackle child care crisis

It’s time to get these bills to the governor’s desk

As chair of the Iowa House Human Resources committee, my committee and I have made addressing the child care crisis one of our top priorities. And we’re not alone. So far this session, the Iowa House has passed 10 bills aimed at tackling the child care crisis from all different angles.

In the Human Resources Committee, we’ve championed legislation to find a solution to the so-called “cliff effect” in regards to the Child Care Assistance program. Under current law, once you reach a certain income level, you lose your Child Care Assistance entirely. This means a pay increase could actually set your family back. Our proposed solution creates an “off-ramp” from government assistance so you can gradually work your way off of government assistance, allowing more parents to grow in their career and better provide for their families long-term.

Other actions that have come from the Human Resources Committee include measures to increase the rates for child care providers, establish a public/private partnership to expand the child care workforce in the state, and increase the number of child care slots available by nonregistered child care providers.

And again, this is just from the Human Resources Committee. The House has passed even more bills from other committees on the House floor and sent them over to the Senate. As of right now, they are all still waiting for consideration in the Senate, and with this week being “funnel week” only those that came from Ways and Means will still be eligible this year if the Senate doesn’t take action this week.

I believe it’s important that we see this legislation become law as soon as possible. It’s vital as our state recovers from the pandemic. And it will remain vital even when this pandemic is truly in the rearview mirror seeing as our state is top in the nation for families with both parents in the workforce.

The Iowa House has worked to find many solutions to increase access to quality, affordable child care because we heard repeatedly, and all across the state how important it was to Iowa families. We heard from you and we took action. Now it’s time to get these bills sent to the governor’s desk so our state can begin to tackle this crisis with a multifaceted approach.

State Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge, serves House District 9 in the Iowa House of Representatives.

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