U.S. President Joe Biden touted his proposal for more government investment in child care during a visit to Connecticut on Friday, part of his push for a broader social spending bill that has been stalled in Congress.
“How can we compete in the world if millions of American parents, especially moms, can’t be part of the workforce because they can’t afford the cost of child care or elder care?” he asked at a child development center in the state capital of Hartford.
Biden said his plan would allow lower-income families to receive free child care and would limit child care expenses for many more Americans to less than 7% of their salaries.
The president spoke about his own difficulties with child care when he was a young congressman after his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. He said he “could not afford child care” for his two sons and commuted to Washington every day from his home state of Delaware so his relatives could help with child care.
Biden’s child care proposals are part of a $3.5 trillion spending package that also addresses climate change; funds a host of social programs, including prekindergarten and paid leave; and raises taxes on corporations. The plan, called Build Back Better by the Biden administration, has been stalled in Congress over objections to the price tag by centrist Democrats and lockstep opposition by Republicans.
The dispute over the legislation has also been holding up another bill, a $1 trillion infrastructure package. That legislation passed the Senate this summer with bipartisan support. However, House progressives say they won’t vote for the infrastructure bill unless there is progress on the social spending bill, while Democratic moderates do not want to vote on the larger spending bill until the infrastructure bill passes.
During his trip to Connecticut, Biden is also attending the dedication of the Dodd Center for Human Rights at the University of Connecticut, which is being renamed to honor Biden’s longtime friend, former Senator Christopher Dodd, as well as Dodd’s father, former Senator Thomas Dodd.
In additional to being a senator, the late Thomas Dodd was also a lead prosecutor for the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, after World War II.
His son, Christopher Dodd, earned a reputation as a human rights advocate for his efforts to end abuses in Central America while serving in the Senate from 1981 to 2011.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.