Running for Office as a Working Parent Could Become Easier

October 30, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The House on Tuesday approved a bill that explicitly allows campaign funds to pay for childcare expenses, making it easier for working parents to run for elected office.

Introduced in March by Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., the bill builds upon H.R. 1, sweeping electoral and campaign finance reform legislation House Democrats passed last winter.

Passed by a voice vote, it allows the authorized committee of a candidate who does not currently hold federal office to pay for certain personal uses, such as child or elder care and health insurance if it will allow for the candidate to run for office. 

If the candidate is also drawing a salary using campaign funds to pay their salary, that amount is reduced by the amount used for permissible personal uses.

“As a single working mom of three young kids, I know firsthand about the barriers that stop many Americans from serving their country in public office,” Rep. Porter said when she introduced her bill.

“Most Americans my age are working parents—including many in the 45th District—but there are few of us with a seat at the table when it comes to writing legislation to make life easier for working families,” she said. “My bill would clarify that campaign funds can be spent on childcare and enable more working parents to make the jump into public service.”

Currently, federal law does not expressly address the permissibility of payments for child care expenses. Candidates who want definitive guidance must individually appeal to the Federal Election Commission for an advisory opinion.

Rep. Porter found this to be an unnecessary hurdle, particularly for non-wealthy candidates such as working parents.

Prior to the House vote, the Help America Run Act had garnered the support of a number of experts in democracy and political science.

Among them was Dr. Nicholas Carnes, Creed C. Black Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, who said Porter’s bill “would send a powerful message to working Americans.”

“The legislation is truly novel; it would be the first federal legislation in American history to acknowledge the existence of an economic gap between members of Congress and the people they represent,” Carnes said.

Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, agreed.

“Giving non-wealthy candidates more ways to make ends meet so they can run for office is another step towards truly representative government, one that we strongly support,” Weiser said.

Elections

Pelosi, Democrats Renew Push to Overhaul Election, Campaign Finance Laws
Congress
Pelosi, Democrats Renew Push to Overhaul Election, Campaign Finance Laws

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday she would press ahead early next year with a campaign finance and elections overhaul, even as the measure may face the same Senate fate it did this Congress: doom. House Democrats passed their signature overhaul measure in March 2019 and dubbed it HR 1, indicating its priority. Senate... Read More

Turmoil Hits Cybersecurity Agency Engaged in Election as Staffers Leave
Cybersecurity
Turmoil Hits Cybersecurity Agency Engaged in Election as Staffers Leave

WASHINGTON — Key officials at the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are stepping down or expecting to get fired from their roles as President Donald Trump continues to question the results of the Nov. 3 election, saying he was the victim of a fraudulent voting process. Christopher Krebs, the head of CISA... Read More

Gen Z Voters Maintain Faith in Democracy, Despite Election Concerns
Research
Gen Z Voters Maintain Faith in Democracy, Despite Election Concerns
November 12, 2020
by Sara Wilkerson

WASHINGTON - In a Georgetown University focus group webinar of voters from Generation Z, the first-time voters expressed their excitement over participating in the democratic process, while at the same time voiced concerns about various influences on the election. The focus group explored how the youngest... Read More

States Expanded Voting Access for the Pandemic. The Changes Might Stick
Elections
States Expanded Voting Access for the Pandemic. The Changes Might Stick

ANCASTER, Pa. — With one envelope slicer, three ballot scanners and around 175 people, it took election officials roughly 37 consecutive hours to process 91,000 mail-in ballots in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. "It's taking a little longer to scan than we had hoped," said Randall Wenger, chief clerk of the... Read More

Lawyers' Group Reports 'No Systemic Problems'
Elections
Lawyers' Group Reports 'No Systemic Problems'

Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said Tuesday that the election so far appears to be successful in terms of in-person voting despite some isolated incidents. Voters at on Missouri polling location were asked about their COVID testing status, Clarke said, and at... Read More

Trump Fends Off Biden in Texas, But Too Many States Are Still Up for Grabs for a Verdict
2020 Elections
Trump Fends Off Biden in Texas, But Too Many States Are Still Up for Grabs for a Verdict

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump survived a scare in Texas, though Election Day ended without a verdict on whether his tumultuous presidency will continue for another term — or the huge blue wave that Joe Biden's supporters had hoped for. The former vice president held a substantial lead in national polls before the polls opened... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top