Braking Down The News

Biden Administration Says Child-Care Assistance Will Help Economy Grow

Some Republicans and economists question the benefits to children and push to give cash to families

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WASHINGTON—The Biden administration says its plan to expand access to preschool and affordable child care will help bolster long-term economic growth by making it easier for parents, and especially women, to work.

President Biden proposes spending $225 billion over 10 years to subsidize child care, including by capping costs for low- and moderate-income families, boosting pay and training for child-care workers and providing federal dollars for care centers. He also wants to spend $200 billion over a decade to establish a national preschool program for all 3- and 4-year-olds in partnership with states.

“Investment in early childhood care can be an important determinant of labor-force participation—one of the drivers of economic growth,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last month.

While bipartisan support has grown in recent years for increasing federal investments in young children, disagreements remain over the best way to direct new spending.

Congressional Republicans and some economists cite research showing that while such programs do boost labor-force participation, they don’t always produce better outcomes for children. And some GOP lawmakers say if the federal government wants to subsidize child care, they would rather let households decide whether to provide that care inside or outside the home.

 

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