(New York, NY) — The House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act today, including the payroll tax credit originally part of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. Newsrooms would gain a refundable credit for hiring and retaining local reporters.

“We are pleased to see the House passage of the payroll tax credit for local journalists as part of the Build Back Better legislative package,” said Nadine Farid Johnson, Washington director of PEN America. “This provision will provide a crucial lifeline to local news outlets, bolstering the breadth and durability of community coverage and civic discourse. We urge the Senate to retain the payroll tax credit as it moves toward final consideration.”

For years PEN America has advocated to strengthen press freedom and local journalism. In 2019, PEN America released Losing the News, a groundbreaking report documenting the collapse of the local news industry and proposing innovative solutions to support local investigative reporting through public funding and other means of support. In May, PEN America joined more than a dozen media and press freedom organizations in urging Congress to include support for local journalism in the federal legislation