U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today highlighted how Democrats’ out-of-touch child care provisions in their reckless tax-and-spending spree would reduce the number of child care options for parents and harm faith-based providers across the country. Thune also noted how the Democrats’ bill would allow taxpayer funding for abortions against the wishes of a majority of the American people.
On Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending spree (excerpts):
“The ever-evolving reckless tax-and-spending spree bill proposed by the Democrats – it continues to change because they can't seem to figure out how to put together something that might pass in the House and the Senate.”
“This bill is the largest spending increase we've seen in history, largest tax increase in history, and we're finding out now it’s also going to add significantly to the federal debt because there's a recent study by Penn Wharton which suggests that the overall cost of the bill, when fully implemented, would be $3.9 trillion and that the revenues that are proposed to be raised to pay for it only generate about $1.5 trillion.”
“So just think about that, Mr. President, from the side that always says that our side is looking out for rich people, trying to cut taxes for the rich, they are proposing, and have included, have included now in the House version of the reckless tax-and-spending spree bill, a provision that would provide tax cuts to rich people.
“In fact, 80 percent of that tax cut, 80 percent, would go to people who are making more than $200,000 a year.”
“Some really horrible ideas have come out in the last few weeks, some of which have gone away simply because there aren’t any Democrats who will vote for them. But this is one, obviously, that’s going to benefit rich people across this country on a level unlike anything else in the bill, as is suggested by the overall cost of the provision and the way that it distributes among income categories.”
On Democrats’ out-of-touch child care provisions (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, I think a lot of times when people think about the government paying for health care or child care or college or the like, they tend to just assume that they’ll be able to continue on with – or get – their preferred health care or child care, and that the only difference will be the fact that the government is now picking up the tab.
“If you listen to Democrats talk about it, that’s certainly what you might think.
“But the reality, Mr. President, is a lot different.
“Because with government money comes government control.
“Government money rarely comes without strings attached.
“And nowhere is that more obvious than with the child care provisions of the so-called ‘Build Back Better’ tax-and-spending spree Democrats are contemplating.
“To hear Democrats talk about it, you might think that the child care provisions amounted to nothing more than government cutting you a check to help with your excess daycare costs.
“The reality is a lot different.
“Mr. President, a 2020 Bipartisan Policy Center survey found that 53 percent of working families who used center-based child care used a faith-based child care center.
“Parents select faith-based child care for a variety of reasons.
“Some choose it because they share the faith of the provider.
“But many choose it for other reasons, as the Bipartisan Policy Center study made clear.
“Some opt for a faith-based center because they like the quality of the facilities, or the quality of the instruction.
“Others because they feel the faith-based facility will provide a safe setting, or because even though they don’t share the belief system of the providers, they like the values that belief system represents.
“Well, for many of those families, their days of choosing faith-based child care may be numbered, because Democrats’ new child care provision is deliberately set up to put faith-based child care providers at a disadvantage.
“For starters, the language of the legislation would likely exclude many faith-based child care providers from participating in the program.
“That means that even if you as a parent prefer to choose your local faith-based child care center, you may not be able to.
“On top of that, Mr. President, the bill provides funding to assist with renovation or remodeling at daycare facilities – but it specifically prevents these funds from going to child care centers that share space with facilities for worship or religious instruction.
“That means that the child care program at your local Catholic church or your local Lutheran church or your local mosque will most likely not be allowed to take advantage of government assistance for renovations – although the secular provider down the street will.
“And, Mr. President, these policies are likely to have profound consequences.
“Obviously, many parents are likely to find themselves prevented from choosing their preferred faith-based child care provider.
“But beyond that, this legislation could start crowding faith-based child care providers out of the child care market entirely.
“Child care providers unable to participate in the government child care program may find themselves struggling to stay in business – or being forced to raise their fees to the point that only the most well-off families can afford faith-based care.
“A shrinking number of faith-based providers.
“Which, I’m afraid, is probably some Democrats’ goal.
“It’s hard to imagine why else they would restrict parents’ ability to choose a faith-based provider for their children, or exclude religious child care providers from receiving government renovation assistance.
“Mr. President, Democrats’ legislation is representative of a growing tendency in the Democrat Party to treat religious people as second-class citizens – something that is completely out-of-step with the robust idea of religious freedom we have traditionally had in this country.
“The First Amendment was not intended to keep religion out of the public square, as many Democrats seem to think.
“Nor was it intended to privilege secular belief systems over religious ones.
“No, its purpose was to prevent the government from establishing a national religion or infringing on the rights of religious individuals to live out their faith.
“Today, however, it’s become apparent that many Democrats think at least some forms of government discrimination against religious people are perfectly acceptable.
“And there is no question that their child care program would place faith-based child care providers at a disadvantage.
“But, Mr. President, steering parents away from faith-based child care is not the only choice Democrats are going to be making for parents under this new child care benefit.
“Democrats’ child care program will not only make it more difficult for parents to choose faith-based care, it will make it more difficult for parents to choose any private child care provider.
“Under Democrats’ legislation, only public – in other words, government-run – child care providers will be guaranteed sufficient reimbursement to cover their operating costs.
“This is a deliberate choice that will make it much more difficult for private providers to stay in business, serving Democrats’ goal of pushing children into government-run child care programs.
“And that still isn’t the end of the child care decisions Democrats will be making.
“Democrats’ legislation also gives the federal government full control over approving child care curricula and performance standards.
“Providers will be measured not by how well-satisfied parents are with the child care they’re providing, but by whatever Washington bureaucrats determine to be appropriate measures of performance.
“I’m not sure why Washington bureaucrats are better suited than parents to identify quality child care providers.
“But, as the Democrat candidate for governor of Virginia recently made clear, Democrats do not seem to think that parents are best-suited to make decisions for their children.
“Mr. President, I could go on.
“I could talk about the confusing government bureaucracy parents will have to navigate under Democrats’ new child care program.
“Or I could talk about the fact that this new child care benefit could drive up child care costs for middle-class families over the next three years by a staggering $13,000 a year, according to one estimate.
“But today, Mr. President, what I really want to emphasize is something Democrats conveniently omit from discussions of their new government programs:
“And that is, as I said, that with government money comes government control.
“Democrats are setting the stage for a government takeover of child care – where you can choose your provider only as long as Democrats agree with your choice.
“Mr. President, before I close, I want to mention one other aspect of Democrats’ bill, and that is the bill’s commitment to taxpayer funding of abortion.
“Mr. President, while the Democrat Party has long supported an abortion agenda, there has at least been bipartisan agreement when it comes to appropriations bills that we’re not going to use taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.
“For decades, the Hyde Amendment and other riders have helped prevent taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions.
“No longer, if Democrats have their way.
“In Democrats’ tax-and-spending spree, taxpayer funding of abortion is the order of the day.
“Restrictions on the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion funding are omitted, and in at least one case Democrats actively require funding of abortion and would override state laws on insurance coverage of abortion.
“Mr. President, let’s be very clear.
“This bill is a slap in the face to every American who believes in the sanctity of human life and doesn’t want his or her tax dollars going to pay for killing unborn human beings.
“You would think that if we can’t agree that the human rights of unborn children should be protected, we could at least agree that taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay for killing unborn children.
“Well, apparently even that is too much to ask of Democrats.
“Even though nearly 60 percent of Americans oppose having their tax dollars go to abortion.
“Almost 60 percent of Americans do not want their tax dollars going to pay for abortions.
“But that doesn’t seem to matter to the Democrat Party, which is squarely in the pocket of the radical abortion lobby.
“And so Democrats’ legislation contains a radical commitment to government funding of abortions, against the wishes of a majority of the American people.
“It’s just one more reason why the Build Back Better plan is a bad deal for Americans.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”