Dem Plans For Universal Pre-K, Childcare Would Shift Costs To States

By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy

Congressional Democrats – during most of the fall in 2021 – backed the $3.5 trillion bill dubbed the Build Back Better Act and tried to make a promise to Americans that states are expected to keep for universal pre-K.

The 10-year spending plan for the so-called “human infrastructure” would have been a massive expansion of the social safety net. It was so extensive that some critics called it “a hammock”.

The agreement included $200 billion to fund universal preschool for all children aged 3 and 4. This program, which supporters claim would help about 5 million children and their families from all income levels save $13,000 per family when it is fully implemented, includes $200 billion for universal preschool.

But states would have been required to foot about 50 percent of the bill, according to CNN.

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Also included in the flawed spending plan was $250 billion to finance childcare until age 5. That would be spent giving every family help in some form, planning to keep the cost of child care at or below 7 percent of most families’ income.

In August, moderate Democrat Joe Manchin joined every Republican senator in voting in favor of an amendment that prohibited using federal funds to teach critical race theory in pre-K, elementary and secondary schools. The amendment, sponsored by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, passed 50-49, Newsweek reported. 

States would be required to pay half of the federal spending bill. The reconciliation bill also played loose with the estimated $3.5 trillion by shifting costs to the states.

Thankfully, it didn’t have enough support in Congress. However, Democrats will probably resurrect many of these projects in their future legislation.

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