WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Jon Tester (D-MT) to introduce legislation to build on efforts to reduce military spouse unemployment and improve access to affordable childcare.
The Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act of 2019 would change the tax code to incentivize businesses to hire military spouses and make it easier for military families to afford childcare.
“Military spouses are vital to our all-volunteer force. They make sacrifices, like taking on family duties during long deployments and supporting frequent moves, and they do it mostly without recognition. As a result, they face a unique set of challenges that make career advancement more difficult. This is a thoughtful approach to help ease the burden on our military families by improving employment opportunities for spouses,” Boozman said.
“The men and women who support our troops deserve our support too. This bill is an effort to improve job opportunities and access to affordable childcare for military spouses as they face frequent moves and unexpected transfers. The families who sacrifice so much to serve our country should never have to choose between staying in the military and supporting their own families,” Kaine said.
“Our nation’s military spouses and families make great professional and personal sacrifices every day. We’ve got to improve access to employment opportunities for military families, and help ensure they can afford quality childcare without breaking the bank,” Tester said.
Military families frequently face financial insecurity due to spousal unemployment—which is an often overlooked military readiness issue—and obstacles to accessing quality, affordable childcare exacerbate these challenges. Unlocking the full talent of the nearly one million active duty, reserve and National Guard spouses would improve these families’ financial security while boosting their local economies.
The Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Actincludes two main provisions:
- Expands the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to incentivize businesses to hire military spouses. The tax credit is already offered to businesses that hire veterans and other populations that face employment obstacles.
- Makes flexible spending accounts available to military families so they can opt in to reserve pre-tax dollars from their paychecks to pay for out-of-pocket childcare expenses.
In addition to Kaine, Boozman and Tester, the Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Actis cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). The bill is endorsed by Blue Star Families, Military Officers Association of America, National Military Families Association and Servicewomen’s Action Network.