Activists push GOP Sen. Dean Heller to expand child care tax credit

WASHINGTON — The Save the Children Action Network, the political arm of Save the Children, will spend $10,000 on radio ads to run in Las Vegas urging Sen. Dean Heller to expand child care tax credits in the GOP tax reform package.

Heller is co-sponsor of the Promoting Affordable Childcare for Everyone (PACE) Act that would increase the federal tax credit for childcare and adjust the benefit to inflation. The big difference from similar proposals to raise the child tax credit is that the PACE Act would make an enhanced tax credit refundable, thus low-income working households would be eligible for refunds that exceed their federal income tax.

“I thank Sen. Heller for his support of the PACE Act and encourage him to work with his colleagues to include language from the bill into the Senate’s tax reform plan as they make amendments this week,” wrote Mark Shriver, president of the Save the Children Action Network and a member of the Democratic Kennedy-Shriver clan. “All kids deserve a strong start in life, and expanding the child care tax credit will help give them one.”

The current House and Senate tax bills do not include the PACE Act.

Heller co-sponsored the PACE Act with Sens. Angus King, I-Me., Susan Collins, R-Me., and Richard Burr, R-N.C.

SCAN is buying ads in Las Vegas, but not Maine or North Carolina. Communications director Brendan Daly explained that’s because of his group’s limited financial resources, as well as Heller’s position on the Senate Finance Committee. Burr also is a committee member.

“He’s a Republican and we’re trying to thank him here,” Daly said. “I don’t think the Democrats will be very happy with us that we’re thanking him for his support.”

In a statement, Heller explained his support for the measue. “In Nevada, real median household income is $7,000 lower today than it was 10 years ago, childcare expenses have skyrocketed, and families living in our state are more likely to be living paycheck to paycheck than families living almost anywhere else in the country. Nevadans deserve a break, and that’s why I will continue fighting for tax cuts for middle-class families,” he said.

Contact Debra J. Saunders at or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

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