- Romney said he supported providing cash payments over Biden’s proposed federally backed childcare.
- He would give it to families “in a monthly check, and allow them to decide how to spend their money to help their child.”
- Part of Biden’s $1.8 trillion plan aims to save families $15,000 a year in childcare costs via subsidies.
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Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah said on Thursday he would support a regular cash payment program for families instead of President Joe Biden’s subsidies-based childcare measure, a key part of the White House’s latest $1.8 trillion spending package.
“I’d rather give the money we’re currently providing to families, give it to them in a monthly check, and allow them to decide how to spend their money to help their child,” he told Capitol Hill reporters on Thursday.
“Building a national childcare enterprise of some kind, run by the federal government, is not my idea of the best way to give families the options that they would like to have,” he said. Romney also said he opposed a universal pre-K measure, arguing it would swell the federal government’s size.
Romney has expressed support for cash benefit programs in the past, and he was among the first Senate Republicans to call for stimulus checks at the onset of the pandemic last year.
Parents of children 5 and under would receive the larger amount, while those with kids 6 to 17 would get $250 each month. The Romney plan hasn’t gained support among other Republicans, and some even slammed it as “welfare” after it was rolled out.
Biden’s American Families Plan, introduced on Wednesday, includes $225 billion for government-supported childcare, aiming to keep costs below 7% of a family’s income – the level generally considered “affordable.” The White House contends its program would save families an average of $15,000 per year.
“The most hard-pressed working families won’t have to spend a dime,” Biden said during his joint address to Congress on Wednesday evening.
Republicans are unlikely to support the spending plan, given many of its programs would expand the government’s reach.
Experts point out many Americans have long lacked options for affordable childcare, and costs continue rising as the pandemic forced many providers to permanently close their doors.
Just over half of Americans live in so-called childcare deserts, meaning there are not enough licensed childcare providers in their neighborhoods, per a 2018 analysis from the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress.