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WASHINGTON-Supporters of a proposal to give employers tax credits for establishing child care facilities hope the issue will be revived this fall now that negotiators have excluded it from the recent balanced budget package.

Sen. Herbert Kohl, D-Wis., likely will continue seeking support for S. 82, the "The Child Care Infrastructure Act" he re-introduced in January (BI, Feb. 24), his spokeswoman said last week.

He is expected to target members of the House, which failed to pass the measure during regular session. A large majority of U.S. senators have indicated their support for the bill, which they passed 72-28 in a June vote.

The bill as drafted would provide a federal tax credit to private businesses that acquire, expand or repair an onsite or near-site day care center, after-hours care facility or sick-child facility. The credit also would apply to employers that subsidize the operating costs of a child care facility, contract with a child care resource and referral center to help employees, reserve child care slots at a licensed facility or train workers.

Supporters' hopes are buoyed by indications that the White House will emphasize the importance of child care this fall, Sen. Kohl's spokeswoman said.

Specifically, the White House will host an Oct. 23 conference "to examine the strengths and weaknesses of child care in America and explore how our nation can better respond to the needs of working families for affordable, high-quality child care," according to a White House statement.

"Making high-quality child care more affordable and accessible is critical to the strength of our families and to healthy child development and learning. It is also good for the economy and central to a productive American workforce," according to a White House statement.