Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Allyson Schwartz Has Been Busy

With all the excitement of the primaries a few other things got lost in the shuffle. For example, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz has been busy. For example she has been:

introducing legislation:

U.S. Reps. Allyson Schwartz (PA-13) and Michael E. McMahon (NY-13) introduced legislation today that will help middle income families afford the rising cost of child care. The Support Working Parents Act will modernize and simplify the tax code to recognize the needs of today’s family, allowing all working parents to receive a 35 percent tax credit for the cost of their child care expenses.

A simple change in the tax law would allow middle-income families to get a bigger tax break to cover the rising cost and necessity of child care. Having a single 35 percent tax credit rate for all families would eliminate the disparities in the tax credit and nearly double the maximum allowable credit from $1,200 to $2,100 to help account for the increased cost of child care.

“Far too many families across the country are faced with the daunting challenge of finding high-quality child care that won’t break the bank,” Schwartz said. “Expanding the child care tax credit for middle-income families will strengthen our economic recovery by helping parents balance their responsibilities at work and at home. During these tough economic times it is more important than ever that parents have the choice to re-enter the workforce and know that high-quality care is available for their children.”

“It makes no sense that families making below the median income but more than $43,000 per year would be ineligible for this credit,” McMahon said. “In an area where the cost of living is high, such as New York City where my district is located, working families need all the help they can get. Changing the tax code so that the child care tax credit is available to all families is the right thing to do. The money that these families will get from the tax credit will be put back into our economy, used for their child’s education or simply help them makes ends meet. I am so proud to partner with Rep. Schwartz on this worthwhile initiative and hope all of our colleagues will support it.”

Under current law, taxpayers earning less than $43,000 a year receive a credit that’s equal to 35 percent of their child care expenses. However, for families earning more than $43,000 a year – a figure well below the median national income for two wage earner families – the tax credit phases out to just 20 percent of expenses.

The proposal introduced by Schwartz and McMahon would eliminate this phase-out and allow all families, regardless of their income, to receive the full credit of 35 percent of their child care expenses.

In 39 states, the cost of one year’s worth of infant child care exceeds the cost of one year’s tuition at a four-year public university. In the state of New York, a parent spends between $11,000 and $14,000 per year on child care; in Pennsylvania, the cost is between $8,000 and $10,000. However, the median income in New York is a little more than $70,000 and in Pennsylvania it’s about $50,000, making most families ineligible for the current 35 percent child care tax credit.

The legislation is supported by numerous organizations devoted to helping today’s families succeed, including Third Way, Early Care & Education Consortium, Every Child Matters, First Focus Campaign for Children, and Voices for America’s Children. Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force has also put forth a similar proposal in January.

“We have an out-of-date tax code that’s out of touch with modern realities,” Tess Stovall, Senior Policy Advisor for Third Way’s Economic Program. “This is a long-overdue expansion of the child care tax credit and an issue of simple fairness for today’s parents.”

and getting awards.
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz received the 2010 Joseph F. Boyle Award for Distinguished Public Service from the American College of Physicians (ACP) for her outstanding service toward improving the delivery of health care in America. In May 2009, Schwartz introduced the Preserving Patient Access to Primary Care Act, which served as a blueprint for the primary care provisions in the health reform law.

The Joseph F. Boyle Award is given to a current or former government official or physician acting in an official capacity who has provided outstanding public service toward improving the delivery of health care.

The congresswoman was selected for this honor because of her leadership during the health care reform debate to ensure that all individuals have access to health care coverage and a primary care physician.

“I was honored to receive this prestigious award and to be recognized by this extraordinary group of physicians,” Schwartz said. “I share their commitment to improving access to primary care and I have worked successfully to ensure that primary care is the foundation of our health care delivery reform. We now have a law that includes provisions I authored that increases payments to primary care providers, eliminates co-payments for preventive services, and makes significant increases in loan repayment initiatives to encourage more medical students to choose primary care specialties.”

The ACP, an organization representing 129,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students, presented the Congresswoman with the award at their Leadership Day Dinner Tuesday evening in Washington DC.

Schwartz’s brother, Neal S. Young, MD, also received an award from the ACP in Toronto earlier this year. Young received the Award for Outstanding Work in Science Related to Medicine. He is Chief of the Hematology Branch of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Director of the Trans-NIH Center for Human Immunology, Autoimmunity, and Inflammation.

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