The Biden administration is trying to build support for proposals to revamp the country’s rickety child care system as it pushes Congress to pass a $ 3.5 trillion plan to expand social security programs and is looking for a way to address ongoing labor shortages.
In a new report released on Wednesday, the Treasury Department painted a dire picture of child care in America, describing what it calls the private sector’s failures to provide high-quality care at affordable prices and arguing that the federal government must do more to help families care for their children.
“It is no coincidence – sound economics explains why relying on private money to provide child care services is doomed to run out,” the report said.
The Biden administration has already disbursed nearly $ 40 billion to help child care providers and daycares with funds approved in the US bailout, which Congress passed earlier this year. The Treasury Department also distributed monthly child tax credit advances to families with children.
On Wednesday afternoon, Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the Treasury Department to advocate for increased funding for child care services.
Mr Biden’s plan includes child care subsidies for low- and middle-income families, a universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, and a permanent extension of child care tax credits and dependents.
The Treasury report argues that families currently spend around 13% of their income to pay for child care costs for a child under 5. Despite the high costs, child care providers tend to be poorly paid.
The disparate nature of the child care system often causes a parent to leave the workforce, thus losing access to health insurance and retirement benefits. The United States is currently struggling with a labor shortage, and the Biden administration sees increasing access to child care as a way to get people back to work.
“In basic economic terms, the president’s proposals will increase both the demand for and the supply of child care services,” the report said. “With increased demand, more children will have access to the rich early childhood experiences and more parents will be able to choose to stay in the workforce. “