‘Toddler Takeover’: GOP Goals Most Valued Benefit of Build Back Better | News


For in the past two weeks, Republicans have hammered home one of the key new programs that would be created as part of President Joe Biden’s massive welfare bill and green energy spending.

The Build Back Better legislation would provide free and universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds and free or subsidized child care for many families with young children.

Republicans called the arrangements a “toddler takeover” and cited analysis that they would increase the cost of child care and exclude faith-based providers in favor of “awakened” public child care.

“This bill manages to be both extremely inflationary and very unfair,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said in a speech. “It insults the diversity of American families and their aspirations. It just gives money and power to the same awakened bureaucrats who leave far-left propaganda in K-12 schools, then send the Justice Department after them. parents who speak out. “

The two parties are engaged in a messaging battle over the measure as Democrats struggle to resolve differences within their party over the bill and are set to miss the Christmas deadline to pass it.

But party lawmakers are promoting the bill as a lifeline for working families, especially those struggling to pay for child care.

The average cost of child care in 2019 was around $ 9,400 per child, according to the nonprofit Child Care Aware, which calculated that married couples spend 10% of their income on child care, while that single parents spend 34%.

Child care fees keep parents from sleeping at night, President Nancy Pelosi said last week as they wonder how they can afford quality care for their children while they are at work .

“The idea is to lower the cost of child care,” the California Democrat said as she stood outside Capitol Hill with activists at a rally supporting the measure. “All of this requires a great deal of public commitment to meet the private needs of the American people.”

One of the main benefits of government-subsidized daycares and preschools is to bring more women into the workforce, Democrats said.

“We believe there are more women in the workforce, it’s a better way to rebuild, because when women succeed, America succeeds,” Pelosi said.

But polls show more parents want to stay home with their children or leave them in the care of a parent, close friend or church daycare.

A Morning Consult poll conducted in December 2020 found that only 13% of parents surveyed preferred to send their children to a daycare that was not affiliated with a religious organization.

Another 14% preferred denominational childcare, while 38% of parents would prefer to care for their children or enlist a close relative, such as a grandparent.

Child care and early childhood education services offered by Democrats would not immediately exclude faith-based care, Republicans stress, but would push back over time due to mandates associated with grants that churches and synagogues might end up violating.

About 53% of families use faith-based child care services, Republicans said.

GOP lawmakers say the worst part of the provision is that it would dramatically increase child care costs, which even liberal groups and government organizations claim.

Nonprofits and the DC government predict that subsidies, higher demand, and new skills and salary requirements for providers would dramatically increase the cost of child care for those outside the qualifying income range.

Democrats have divided the child care benefit into two parts. The universal preschool would be available free of charge to all 3 and 4 year olds, and child care for 0 to 2 year olds would be income-based.

The Build Back Better law would require states to implement within three years a salary for child care workers “equivalent to the salary of elementary educators with similar qualifications and experience in the state.”

Additionally, government officials in DC have considered such a pay equity proposal. The office of the state superintendent of education released a report in October that increasing the wages of educators to the same level as that of elementary school teachers would increase costs by up to $ 12,000 per child.

Those who are fully subsidized would not have to worry about the cost, but families earning a dollar above the income threshold would be forced to pay significantly more.

Demand would also increase, pushing up costs further for those who are not subsidized.

“You’re going to have to go out and hire a lot more people in the child care industry,” said Matt Bruenig, who studies the issue for the People’s Policy Project, a liberal think tank, at the Washington Examiner.

While demand will require more child care workers, wages will not increase until 2025.

“The median salary of a child care worker was less than 98% of workers,” Bruenig told the Washington Examiner. “You can’t attract more people to this industry.”

States will also bear the full cost of the grants after the first six years, and none are required to participate.

In fact, the Congressional Budget Office assumes that many states will simply opt out of the program. The CBO used this assumption to calculate the cost at $ 383 billion, hitting the Democrats’ goal of less than $ 400 billion.

“Excluding children in Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, the Carolinas and other similar states from universal preschool and child care grants is an intentional strategy to cut costs,” Bruenig , which pleads for a free daycare for 0-. at 4, says.

Democrats are quick to point out that polls show the idea of ​​government-subsidized child care is popular.

A morning consultation in November /Politics A survey found that 31% of those surveyed strongly supported funding for child care and universal preschool services. Another 30% said they supported it somewhat.

It ranks below other new programs offered in Build Back Better, including lowering Medicare drug prices and adding new Medicare benefits, paid family and medical leave, and funding for home health care for people. the elderly and the disabled.

Democrats are now presenting the advantage as an antidote to inflation, which soared to 6.8% in November.

Senate Minority Whip John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, said it would have the opposite effect.

“Fewer options and higher costs is what you’re going to get,” he said.

Original location: “Takeover for the little ones”: GOP goals are the most touted benefit of Build Back Better

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