WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives passed a bill authored by Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) to make it easier for working parents to run for federal office. The Help America Run Act would clarify that candidates are permitted to use campaign contributions to pay for child care, elder care, dependent care, and healthcare premiums and passed the House with unanimous, bipartisan support.
“As a single working mom myself, I am acutely aware of the challenge it can be to balance running for office and taking care of a family,” Congresswoman Porter said. “I’m proud to be a member of a historic freshman class that more closely reflects the diversity of the people we represent, but there’s still more work to be done. I’m pleased that a large number of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle have come together to help break down the barriers for Americans who want to serve their communities in federal office.”
While the governing body for federal elections has issued guidance to indicate that candidates for office can use campaign funds for dependent care, this ruling is not codified into law. Congresswoman Porter’s legislation would codify this provision in federal election law, removing a financial barrier for working parents running for office.
The Help America Run Act has the support of the Chairperson and ranking Republican on the House committee that has oversight of federal elections.
“The Help America Run Act is a simple, cost-free, commonsense measure to make America’s representatives look more like the everyday Americans we are here to represent. Americans caring for their children or parents today must weigh the option of running for office to serve the nation against the risk of losing coverage. It is precisely those everyday Americans that I want to see join us at the decision-making table. I’m proud to join Representative Katie Porter, the very first single mother of young children ever to serve in U.S. Congress, in supporting this important legislation,” said House Administration Committee Chairperson Zoe Lofgren.
“I commend my colleague, Rep. Katie Porter, for this important legislation that I believe will allow more hardworking Americans to run for Congress. Strong candidates should not be limited by their circumstances to the point that it prevents them from representing their communities in Congress. Representatives of this body should come from all backgrounds to allow for equal representation of all who make up this great nation,” said House Administration Committee Ranking Member Rodney Davis.
Now that the bill has passed the House, it awaits consideration in the Senate.
Since coming to Congress, Rep. Porter has been a leading advocate for women and families. This month, she held a roundtable in Orange County to talk about preventing and intervening in cases of domestic violence. Earlier this year, she secured additional funding in a House-passed bill for key programs to reduce the sexual assault kit backlog and assist child survivors of abuse and neglect. In March, she led bipartisan legislation to allow families to set aside more of their dollars pre-tax to go towards childcare, elder care, and dependent care.