WASHINGTON ― Republicans are going to war over one of the most popular proposals Democrats are seeking to enshrine into law: a new federal program that could help millions of families get affordable child care for the first time.

On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) devoted a large majority of his floor speech to attacking the proposed child care plan as exceedingly complicated, maintaining that Democrats’ “toddler takeover” would make Americans’ hellish child care situation even worse.

“If you like your child care, you can keep your child care!” McConnell mocked, arguing there would be implementation headaches like those associated with the Affordable Care Act. “Buckle up, parents. What could go wrong?”

Democrats present a straightforward pitch to their child-care proposal. No family will spend more than 7% on child care thanks to federal subsidies. With “universal” prekindergartenA child care proposal, along with monthly cash payments for parents is one pillar of benefits for working families that the Democrats want to pass in the Build back Better legislation.

However, the plan itself is more complicated than it sounds. The eligibility criteria for subsidies would be determined by household income. They would increase over three years, with the state’s median income being cut off at 100 percent in year 1, and rising to 250% following year 3.

The state would require child care providers to be licensed and the states would have three year to create a tiered system of evaluating quality provider services. Workers in child care would be paid living wages by providers. This would apply to workers who have similar qualifications in the local public school system.

McConnell attacked the Democratic proposal by citing a progressive criticThey argued that the program could expose families to prohibitive, higher-than-normal costs during the transition period of three years. This is because child care would be more expensive for those families not eligible for aid.

The program’s advocates, both in and out of Congress, have strongly disputedThis claim is not true. The new Democratic initiative, regardless of its truth, could change the lives of millions Americans with savings in the thousands for middle- and low-income families.

Because of the difficulty in estimating how many will benefit, whole programThe state participation would be crucial, as many states will almost certainly say no. And the appropriation would run out after six years, which means the funding ― and the subsidies ― would vanish if lawmakers don’t pass legislation to extend it in the future.

The new $400 billion of federal spending, however, would still be the biggest investment made in early childhood in American history. It would surpass narrower Republican proposals, like expanded tax credits or flexible spending accounts that provide less aid.

“Obviously, Sen. McConnell does not have small children and he has not looked for child care so he could make it to the office every day,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.HuffPost spoke with a prominent child care funding advocate,

“I think Sen. McConnell is feeling the heat,” she added.

Democrats are betting that it will be difficult for Republicans to oppose popular elements of Build Back Better, such as child care and universal pre-K. They’re counting on passage of the bill, which is no sure thing yet, to lift the party’s standing ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

Recent research indicates that there is a substantial increase in the number of women who are able to afford automobiles. Hart Research pollNearly 70% of voters want Congress to prioritise affordable child care in the coming year, according to a majority of Republicans.

“It’s deeply surprising that Republicans would go after something so popular like child care,” Zac Petkanas, a Democratic strategist, told HuffPost. “One of the key things in the Build Back Better legislation is the cost-cutting components of the bill, and the child care pieces are a key part of that. They’re really playing with fire when they go after child care.”

McConnell said that the Democratic plan would disadvantage child care providers associated with religion by making it mandatory that all providers follow the non-discrimination rules. It also prohibits the government from funding facilities for sectarian purposes.

“Washington Democrats want to unleash the woke mob on church day care,” McConnell said.

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America are both in fact raised concerns that the legislation’s language would make it difficult, if not impossible, for some religious providers to participate in the program

But Democratic staff and their allies have insisted the groups are misreading the legislation, which states plainly that “Nothing in this section shall preclude the use of [subsidies] for sectarian child care services if freely chosen by the parent.” They note that a primary goal of the Democratic plan is to work with existing child care providersMany of these institutions are religious and comply with the anti-discrimination laws tied to government funding programs.

Republicans are likely to make it more difficult for the public to support the legislation if the Build Back better debate drags on. Already, there are doubts that Democrats will be able to send the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk by the end of the month as they had set out to do. They may not be able to send the bill to President Joe Biden by the end of the month, which could cause the process to drag out into next year. This could make it difficult for Democrats to present the new measures as an option to their narrow congressional majority.

“I know they think this polls well, but the more people find out what’s in the bill, the less popular it is,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told HuffPost.

Source: HuffPost.com.

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