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Shaheen And Hassan Push Back Against Hiring Freeze At Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Shaheen Leads Bipartisan Congressional Letter Calling for Exemption of Federal Hiring Freeze for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard & Navy Shipyards Around the Country

**Recent executive order signed by President Trump has caused shipyards across the country to suspend hiring**

**In letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, senators urge him to “consider the impact of the Memorandum on the Navy, public shipyards and national security, and issue clear guidance to immediately exempt all Navy civilians from the hiring freeze” ** 

(Washington, DC) — Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), joined by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis calling for Department of Navy shipyard civilian employees to be exempt from the recent executive order signed by President Trump that freezes federal hiring. While the President’s executive order states that it does not apply to military personnel or positions considered essential to meet national security responsibilities, the uncertainty has caused shipyards across the country, including Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, to suspend all hiring. Senator Shaheen’s office has learned that several new hires have received letters indefinitely postponing their start date.

“We believe a hiring freeze may have a severe and adverse impact on the ability of the Navy and public shipyards to meet critical national security requirements and we urge you to immediately exempt all Department of Navy shipyard civilian employees,” the senators wrote. “The civilian men and women who support the Navy provide mission critical maintenance to ensure the Navy can meet security requirements around the world, and should thus be granted an exception.”   

The letter continues, “As you are aware, there is discussion regarding the requirements for a larger Navy to meet current and emerging threats… In order to maintain the current fleet and meet future maintenance requirements, we will need more civilians to maintain, repair and overhaul submarines, aircraft carriers and the entire naval fleet. These civilians frequently complete maintenance availabilities ahead of schedule and under budget saving taxpayer dollars and ensuring fleet readiness… A civilian hiring freeze at naval shipyards will severely impact this training pipeline resulting in maintenance delays and higher costs. The Presidential Memorandum states that the freeze is not intended to impact national security, however, freezing the hiring of civilian employees who will support critical fleet maintenance will directly undermine national security.” 

“We urge you to consider the impact of the Memorandum on the Navy, public shipyards and national security and issue clear guidance to immediately exempt all Navy shipyard civilians from the hiring freeze,” the letter concludes.

Full text of the senators’ letter is below.

January 26, 2017 

The Honorable James Mattis
U.S. Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Secretary Mattis: 

We write to express our concern regarding the Presidential Memorandum issued January 23, 2017 concerning a hiring freeze of Federal civilian employees.  We believe a hiring freeze may have a severe and adverse impact on the ability of the Navy and public shipyards to meet critical national security requirements and we urge you to immediately exempt all Department of Navy shipyard civilian employees. 

The Memorandum states that the freeze does not apply to “military personnel” or positions considered essential to meet national security responsibilities.  The civilian men and women who support the Navy provide mission critical maintenance to ensure the Navy can meet security requirements around the world, and should thus be granted an exception. 

Our request to exempt Department of Navy shipyard civilian employees from the Presidential Memorandum is not without precedent.  In his May 14, 2013, memorandum concerning sequestration-related furloughs, then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel exempted Navy shipyard employees because “it would be particularly difficult to make up delays in maintenance work on nuclear vessels and these vessels are critical mission success.”  Our public shipyards perform the same mission critical work today and require hiring discretion to meet their workforce needs so this work can be completed without delay.    

As you are aware, there is discussion regarding the requirements for a larger Navy to meet current and emerging threats.  The Navy has recommended increasing the size of the fleet to 355 ships, up from fewer than 280 ships today.  In order to maintain the current fleet and meet future maintenance requirements, we will need more civilians to maintain, repair and overhaul submarines, aircraft carriers and the entire naval fleet.  These civilians frequently complete maintenance availabilities ahead of schedule and under budget saving taxpayer dollars and ensuring fleet readiness.  The public shipyards are currently hiring hundreds of new employees who must complete years of training before they are able to maintain and repair naval vessels.  A civilian hiring freeze at naval shipyards will severely impact this training pipeline resulting in maintenance delays and higher costs.  The Presidential Memorandum states that the freeze is not intended to impact national security, however, freezing the hiring of civilian employees who will support critical fleet maintenance will directly undermine national security.  

We urge you to consider the impact of the Memorandum on the Navy, public shipyards and national security and issue clear guidance to immediately exempt all Navy shipyard civilians from the hiring freeze.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Quakers to Trump: Sanctuary, Not Walls

AFSC speaks out on executive orders, urges congressional action

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, President Donald Trump announced sweeping executive actions that would expand the border wall, cut federal funding to sanctuary cities and increase the number of people Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will target for deportation. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that has worked for immigrant and refugee rights for almost 100 years – denounced these policies as dangerous and divisive.

“For more than two decades, border wall infrastructure has contributed to the deaths of thousands of migrants fleeing poverty and violence who are forced to cross through deadly terrain,” said Pedro Rios, director of AFSC’s U.S./Mexico Border Program. “This human rights disaster will only be exacerbated with more miles of border walls and excessive, unaccountable enforcement.” While Trump’s executive action paves the way for wall construction, additional congressional action will be needed to fully fund the project. AFSC is calling on Congress to do everything in their power to stop wall construction and to protect the human rights of migrants and those in border communities. 

Trump also signed an executive order limiting federal funding to “sanctuary cities.” More than 350 jurisdictions across the country have enacted policies prohibiting local officials from taking actions like asking people about their immigration status, holding people so ICE can detain them, or sharing information with ICE. 

“Limiting collusion between ICE and local law enforcement has been an essential first step to keeping our communities and families safe from unjust deportation policies,” said AFSC’s policy impact coordinator Kathryn Johnson. “We’re calling on congress to respect the Fourth Amendment and oppose legislation that punishes ‘sanctuary cities.’” 

The executive orders also dramatically expand the number of Customs and Border Patrol agents, call for aggressive immigration enforcement within the country, and for mandatory detention at the border – including of children and families. 

“These policies are immoral, astronomically expensive, racially discriminatory, and threaten to tear apart families and communities” said Johnson. “That’s why AFSC and our partners across this country and around the world are standing together to demand congress oppose these priorities.”

AFSC’s programs outside the U.S. are also voicing concerns. “Through our work in Central America and Mexico we know that many people fleeing to the U.S. are doing so because of violence and extreme poverty,” said Douglas Juarez, AFSC’s Regional Migration Program Coordinator. “Closing the U.S.’s doors to these children, women and men puts their lives at risks as they are returned to the danger they fled. These problems must not be addressed through security and militarization, but through following international law and respecting everyone’s right to migrate.” 

But AFSC and other organizations are not just waiting for congress to take action. They have launched a campaign, called #SanctuaryEverywhere, to help everyday people protect each other from these attacks. According to Lori Khamala, who directs AFSC’s immigrant rights program in North Carolina, they hope to equip thousands of people with training and tools to create sanctuary wherever they are. 

Says Khamala, “whether we are welcoming refugees or working to stop deportations; protecting religious groups who have been targeted and attacked; working to ensure that Black Lives Matter by interrupting anti-Black violence; or protecting the rights of LGBTQI people, we are all in this together.” 

Alliance For Retired Americans Oppose Confirmation Of Mick Mulvaney And Tom Price

The following statement was issued by Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, as Trump cabinet nominee Tom Price testifies in the Finance Committee and Mick Mulvaney testifies in the Senate Budget and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees. 

“Retirees are rightly terrified by the prospect of Tom Price being the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and Mick Mulvaney directing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

“Rep. Mulvaney has earned a lifetime pro-retiree score of just 6% on the Alliance’s Congressional Voting Record.

“In May 2009, Rep. Mulvaney voted in the South Carolina State Senate for an amendment declaring Social Security and Medicaid unconstitutional. In May 2011, he said that Paul Ryan’s plan needed to go farther because it did not cut Social Security and Medicare ‘rapidly enough.’ That same year, Mulvaney told MSNBC that Social Security was a ‘Ponzi scheme’ that might not be able to provide assistance to people in the years to come. He even failed to pay Social Security and Medicare withholding taxes for a domestic worker, violating the law everyone else must follow and disrespecting the very system he wants to oversee. 

“Today he pledged to push President Trump to raise the Social Security retirement age beyond 67. 

“Rep. Price has earned a lifetime pro-retiree score of just 4% on the Alliance’s Congressional Voting Record. He has pledged to replace guaranteed earned Medicare benefits with a system of ‘coupon-care’ and vouchers that will cost retirees more out of pocket.

“Both nominees have made statements about the need to ‘reform’ Medicare and Social Security, including supporting or proposing privatization and raising the retirement age. These are in direct conflict with President Trump’s repeated promises not to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

“These nominees should not be confirmed to these positions. And President Trump must keep his campaign promise and promise to veto any bills that cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

NH Legislators Hold Hearing On A Woman’s Right To Privacy

NH Legislators Push A New “Personhood” Bill In NH House

CONCORD – On Thursday, January 19TH at 10am, the Criminal Justice Committee of the New Hampshire House of Representatives will hold a hearing on HB 156 – a bill that is unnecessary and inconsistent with current law, and if passed, will pose considerable consequences threatening the health and privacy of women in the Granite State.

If passed, HB 156 would recognize a fetus as a legal entity separate from a woman.  By recognizing a fetus as a person who can be an independent victim of a crime, HB 156 creates a legal basis for depriving a pregnant woman of her status as a full person under the law. New Hampshire has rejected proposals similar to HB 156 over a dozen times the past two decades. 

“The ending of a wanted pregnancy is a deep and devastating loss, and our laws must punish people who commit violent crimes against pregnant women,” states Susan Arnold, Chair of the New Hampshire Reproductive Rights Advisory Council. “New Hampshire law already punishes those who commit violent crimes against pregnant women. In 1990, the New Hampshire legislature adopted a law that provides enhanced felony punishment for assaults that result in loss of pregnancy.” A person who “purposely or knowingly causes injury to another resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth” currently faces up to 15 years in prison.

“Personhood” measures, like HB 156, subject a pregnant woman to involuntary medical treatment, surveillance, and incarceration. In states that have adopted laws like HB 156 purport to exempt women from criminal liability – a pregnant woman is still more likely to be punished for “risky” behaviors that is not criminalized for others, and that may or may not have caused harm to her fetus.

And while the bill includes an exemption for abortion, HB 156 will inevitably contribute to a nationwide effort to establish a framework for overturning Roe v. Wade. By establishing a contradiction in the law and pitting a woman against her fetus, HB 156 threatens to erode a woman’s constitutional right to make her own private medical decisions.


Hassan Grills DeVos On Protecting Students With Disabilities

Under Questioning from Senator Hassan, Betsy DeVos Refuses to Commit to Enforcing the Law to Protect Students with Disabilities

Senator Hassan to DeVos: “It’s not about sensitivity – although that helps – it’s about being willing to enforce the law.”

DeVos Also Admits She Was Confused About Whether the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Is A Federal Law 

WASHINGTON — Today, during the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee confirmation hearing for President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, Senator Maggie Hassan questioned Mrs. DeVos on her commitment to protecting students who experience disabilities.

After describing how her son Ben, who experiences severe disabilities, was able to get a quality education at his local public school because of the countless advocates who fought to ensure that public schools would have adequate resources and protections for children like Ben, Senator Hassan pushed Mrs. DeVos on whether she would enforce the law in regards to students who experience disabilities.

The Senator explained that when students who experience disabilities receive a publicly-funded voucher to attend a private school, these students often do not receive adequate resources and may need to sign over their legal rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Senator Hassan pressed Mrs. DeVos on whether or not she would enforce the IDEA and if she believes that families should have a recourse in the courts if their child’s education does not adequately meet his or her needs.

In response to Mrs. DeVos’s statement that if she is confirmed she will be very “sensitive to the needs of special needs students and the policies surrounding that,” Senator Hassan responded, “With all due respect, it’s not about sensitivity – although that helps. It’s about being willing to enforce the law to make sure that my child and every child has the same access to public education – high quality public education.”

Not only did Mrs. DeVos refuse to commit to enforcing the law to protect students with disabilities, but she also admitted that she was confused about whether the IDEA is a federal law.

Prior To Pruitt’s Confirmation Hearing Iowa Farmers Speak Out Against Extremist Nominee

Iowa Renewable Energy Farmers & Community Leaders Urge Their Grassley, Ernst to Oppose Trump’s Radical EPA Pick

Corn & Soybean Farmers: “I hope that our senators will uphold what they told us they would do.”

Less than 24 hours before Scott Pruitt’s confirmation hearing before the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, Iowa renewable energy producers, including local farmers and community leaders, joined the Progressive Change Campaign Committee to call on Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to oppose Pruitt’s nomination for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“[Pruitt] could be disastrous for the working people of rural America. … The thing that really gives me heartburn is it seems like all of [Trump’s] appointees to the different positions have at points in their past basically cursed the cabinet appointees of the past and the organization they’re representing. You really wonder whose side they’re on and what they’re going to do,” said Chris Petersen, board member and former president, Iowa Farmers Union.

“Scott Pruitt, Trump’s radical nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, shouldn’t make it past tomorrow’s Senate committee hearing. This is clear: Scott Pruitt is another example of Donald Trump betraying Iowans and many Americans, including his own voters, by siding with giant corporations at the expense of Iowa farmers in the wind and renewable fuels industries,” said Marissa Barrow, spokesperson, Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement state policy organizing director Adam Mason, Iowa Farmers Union board member and former IFU president Chris Petersen, and corn and soybean farmers Alice and Lyle Hodde highlighted Pruitt’s long track record of supporting big oil corporations over renewable energy.

“Farmers are very concerned about clean energy. I’m not just talking about the money we make when I say I’m concerned about Scott Pruitt’s nomination for EPA. I’m concerned about the clean energy we have in our country and what we’re going to be leaving our grandchildren. (7:45) Our small towns in rural Iowa rely on the ag industry. The equipment dealers, fertilizer dealers, seed corn dealers all depend on farmers. I hope that our senators will uphold what they told us they would do,” said Alice Hodde, corn and soybean farmer from Sidney, IA.

“The administration is trying to appoint these oil people and they’re going to pick our pockets on renewable fuels which is really the key to the agriculture industry. This is the most important issue to farmers in rural areas. [Ethanol] is 40% of our corn market nationwide and in Iowa. (12:10) The center of the country is really hurting, especially the Midwest. Our towns are getting smaller, we lost our high school and our grocery stores — it’s not easy to keep these towns operating…The RFS is the only way that we can complete with the oil corporations,” said Lyle Hodde.

Pruitt has consistently advocated for the repeal of the Renewable Fuel Standard and Clean Power Plan — moves that would benefit big oil corporations, but put over 40,000 jobs at risk and devastate Iowa’s rural communities.

“More than ever, we need uncompromising leadership to protect our food, water and environment, and to safeguard our democracy from regressive policies that benefit only billionaires and multinational corporations. We need elected leaders and administrators who will put people and planet first, and we’re calling on the Senate — especially Senators Grassley and Ernst — to deny [Pruitt’s] appointment after a full and thorough vetting,” said Adam Mason, state policy organizing director, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.

Sen. Ernst — a member of the Senate committee that oversees the EPA — said recently: “Understand that I will be going through a rigorous line of questioning with Mr. Pruitt. What I will be asking is where does he stand on renewable fuels, where does he stand on renewable energy? This is very important to Iowa with our wind energy ever expanding and creating lots of opportunity in our state.”

ICYMI: New Hampshire Rallies to Protect the Affordable Care Act Draw Overflow Crowds

Concord, N.H. – Yesterday, overflow crowds came together for rallies in Manchester and Keene to protest efforts in Washington to repeal the Affordable Care Act and New Hampshire’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan without a replacement.

Also this weekend, the Union Leader highlighted the story of Gail O’Brien, a teacher from Keene , whose life was saved by the Affordable Care Act. The article also featured staff from Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord who emphasized that repealing the Affordable Care Act would harm efforts to provide mental health care, and that repealing “the ACA will not cost cut; it will cost shift.”

See below for highlights of coverage:


Democrats across the country organized a day of action on Sunday, holding rallies in support of the Affordable Care Act.

The New Hampshire rallies took place in Keene and Manchester, where overflow crowds gathered to show support for the ACA and expanding health care coverage.

… Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, both D-NH, are holding a roundtable discussion Tuesday on the ACA’s impact on New Hampshire.

Union Leader

The Affordable Care Act now targeted for repeal by President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress made Gail O’Brien of Keene an overnight internet sensation.

The federal health care law delivered the gift of insurance to this private school teacher suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma who would have died without it.

The internet stardom came with a YouTube video of President Barack Obama calling her after she become one of the first in the nation to be rescued by this law that brought an end to insurers refusing to cover someone who was sick due to a pre-existing condition.

“When that was signed, that just changed my life because it meant I would go and get the treatments that I need and I would be OK,” O’Brien told Obama.

“If it’s not for you, I wouldn’t be here.”

… Today, O’Brien says she’s “back to square one” with Trump vowing to strike the law from the books and replace it with a GOP, market-driven alternative.

“It’s scary right now for me as well as for millions of other people,” O’Brien said Saturday during a phone interview. “It will be back into the same boat for all of us.”

… At Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord, professionals worry any alternative to the health care law could undo progress such as the 50,000 that got coverage in New Hampshire under Medicaid expansion and 7,000 that got substance abuse services with their insurance for the first time.

“It would be easy to underestimate how vitally important it is for parents to get access for their children to quality mental health care,” said Chief Operating Officer Bret Longgood. 

“The repeal of the ACA will not cost cut; it will cost shift. It just ain’t going away.”

Off the streets

Sara Brown of Riverbend said the law allowed many without means to come out of the shadows.

“We had a 29-year-old female addicted to methamphetamine for two and a half years, finally hit bottom hard enough that she sought help,” Brown said, adding it led to the woman to getting a 28-day residential treatment in Effingham along with follow-up.

“It didn’t cost her a dime and if she didn’t have that insurance, she would still be on the streets in my opinion.”

… Through her illness, Gail O’Brien kept working, only calling in sick on the days she got chemotherapy treatments. Now a Title 1 teacher, O’Brien has never been told she’s in remission.

She’s already preparing for the brave new world of health care that stares her in the face. “It’s been seven years now and I have been fine and at my last appointment at the end of December I said instead of six months I could go for a year before my next screening,” O’Brien said.

But O’Brien hasn’t given up fighting either and she’ll be at one of the two, pro-Obamacare rallies Sunday holding her handmade sign.

“It will read, ‘Take away the GOP’s health care and see how they feel.'” O’Brien said.

(This post was compiled by the NHDP) 

Celebration of Doris Granny D Haddock’s Birth 107 Years Ago

Dublin, NH: Open Democracy/New Hampshire Rebellion and PACE: Promoting Active Civic Engagement announce that on January 24, 2017 they will hold a celebration of Doris Granny D Haddock’s birthday 107 years ago. Granny D gained fame and admiration by walking across the United States in her 90th year in support of  campaign finance reform. Subsequently she travelled the country to help countless citizens to register to vote. For her activism she received many awards in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

“In the present turbulent times it helps to take a deep breath and remind ourselves of an intrepid citizen like Doris Haddock, who was willing to use her ‘power of one’ in the fight for the health of our democracy”, said Regina Bringolf, co-chair of Open Democracy.

The celebration on January 24 will be held at 12 noon at the Dublin Community Center, 1123 Main Street in Dublin, NH.  The public is cordially invited. There will be a potluck luncheon (please bring a small dish to share) and remembrances of Granny D’s walks and others, organized by the NH Rebellion, that her friends and supporters have undertaken in her memory. RSVP requested to Doreen@opendemocracy.me, or call 603-715-8197.

Group Calls On Sununu To Name Businesses That Will Move To NH If Right To Work Passes

Granite State Progress Calls on Governor Sununu, Majority Leader Hinch to Name At Least 5 Businesses That Will Move to NH If Right to Work Passes

Right to Work Advocates Have Been Unable to Name a Single Business in Six Years

CONCORD, NH – Granite State Progress calls on Governor Chris Sununu and House Republican Majority Leader Dick Hinch to name at least five businesses that will move to New Hampshire if so-called Right to Work passes. Both politicians made statements during last week’s inauguration and interviews that passing Right to Work is important for business development and that businesses will move to the state upon passage. However, when media outlets questioned NH Speaker Bill O’Brien over the same claim in 2011 he was unable to name even a single business. Additionally, both NH’s Commissioner of Labor and NH’s Commissioner of Resources and Economic Development at the time confirmed not a single business had asked about the legislation:

Union Leader, Businesses are not asking for the right-to-work bill by George Copadis, NH Commissioner of Labor: “Not once has the topic of right-to-work ever come up in all of [their] discussions with New Hampshire businesses and prospective businesses.” [5.24.11]

Statement by Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “Right to Work is wrong for working families and its wrong for New Hampshire. This is nothing more than an attempt to undermine workers’ rights and create another hurdle for working families to come together to negotiate for good jobs with reasonable wages and benefits, job safety, and job training. The politicians and special interest backers pushing this policy should instead support raising wages, end off-shoring of our jobs, and pass family-friendly workplace policies that respect the contributions workers bring to increasing profits in our country.”

Granite State Progress publicly calls on Governor Sununu and Majority Leader Hinch to release a list of the companies they purport will bring jobs to New Hampshire if the state passes legislation that hurts working families.

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

Senators Push Legislation To Increase Child Care Tax Credit

Shaheen, Gillibrand, Schatz Introduce ‘Right Start’ Bill to Expand Child Care Tax Credit for Working Families

 The Right Start Child Care and Education Act would make child care more affordable, strengthening the economy 

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Right Start Child Care and Education Act, legislation that would expand the child care tax credit and provide other assistance to help families afford child care. The legislation would expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), which was first enacted in 1976 to help working families pay for child care. The tax credit does not reflect the current costs of child care, which have risen since the CDCTC was first enacted and can exceed $10,000 annually. In New Hampshire, the cost of child care is nearly $12,000 for a single child. 

“The rising costs of child care is a real burden on families in New Hampshire and across the country, and the Right Start Child Care and Education Act would provide much-needed relief for parents working to make ends meet,” said Senator Shaheen. “Making child care more affordable will help parents, especially working mothers, re-join the workforce, and strengthen our economy.”

“This bill would help reduce the enormous financial burden that comes from paying for child care,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Child care is essential for many families with new babies and young children, but in some states, including New York, it costs as much as college tuition. This legislation would go a long way toward making child care more affordable for families, and I will continue urging all of my colleagues to support it in the new Congress.” 

“Increasing the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit will provide much-needed assistance for working families,” said Senator Schatz. “In Hawai‘i, child care can cost more than $10,000 per year, and nationally costs are rising. This tax credit will help provide economic security for families and allow parents to go back to work.” 

The Right Start Child Care and Education Act would increase the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, making it equal to 35 to 50 percent of eligible expenses, up significantly from the current range of 20 to 35 percent, and increase the maximum eligible expenses from $3,000 per child to $6,000 per child. The bill would also improve assistance for lower-income families by making the credit refundable, and make it easier for employers to provide working parents with childcare by increasing the tax credit for employer-provided childcare.  It also aims to improve the availability of high-quality child care by adding a new tax credit for college graduates who become childcare professionals. 

The Right Start Child Care and Education Act was introduced in the 113th Congress, and again in the 114th Congress, by fmr. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and co-sponsored by Senators Shaheen, Gillibrand and Schatz.

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