Child Care Crisis Looms as Federal Funding Dries Up: Impacts and Political Tensions Rise

Noah Silverbrook

Updated Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 4:04 AM CDT

Child Care Crisis Looms as Federal Funding Dries Up: Impacts and Political Tensions Rise

In a recent report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the persistent challenge of securing affordable child care in the U.S. was brought to light, citing high operational costs as a key difficulty. The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated these challenges, as child care providers faced financial struggles due to closures and reduced capacities. In response, the American Rescue Plan, championed by President Joe Biden, allocated $24 billion in emergency child care assistance to providers via state governments. This funding was instrumental in supporting families dependent on paid child care and enabled women with young children to enter or reenter the workforce, as noted by the Council of Economic Advisers. Furthermore, the emergency funds contributed to workforce expansion and increased real wages for child care workers.

Despite these benefits, the impact of the Biden-Democratic initiative on child care during the crisis remains underappreciated by the American public. With the temporary child care assistance program expiring on October 1 and the federal government halting new checks, the U.S. faces the potential loss of 3 million child care slots. The Southwestern Child Development Commission in western North Carolina, for instance, announced the closure of seven centers due to the cessation of federal emergency funds, impacting over 300 families. Sheila Hoyle, the executive director of the commission, highlighted the ensuing struggles for working parents.

In an effort to mitigate these issues, the Biden administration has proposed a $16 billion budget for child care funding in the coming year, but this faces Republican skepticism. Advocacy has become a critical tool in garnering support for child care funding, especially as the benefits of pandemic assistance programs are not immediately visible. Compounding the situation, the expiration of the pandemic-related child tax credit has led to an increase in child poverty, with many Americans unaware of its previous role in reducing poverty rates.

Amidst these domestic challenges, President Joe Biden signed a temporary spending bill in San Francisco, averting a government shutdown and postponing the federal budget battle with congressional Republicans. The bipartisan measure, which was signed at the Legion of Honor Museum, ensures government operations until after the holiday season. The U.S. House and Senate passed a temporary spending bill to keep the government funded through December 23, 2022, but this creates two potential shutdown risks. New House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, has been a proponent of this two-step funding approach and has expressed opposition to further continuing resolutions. Johnson plans to use the temporary funding bill as leverage for a spending showdown with the Senate in the upcoming year.

The spending bill notably excludes requests for nearly $106 billion in wartime aid for allies such as Israel and Ukraine, as well as other supplemental requests. Legislators are set to address the White House's funding requests post-Thanksgiving, with the hopes of negotiating a comprehensive deal.

On the international front, Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco, his first in six years, was met with three standing ovations from the U.S. business community. The visit yielded agreements between Xi and Biden on issues like fentanyl control, military communications, and artificial intelligence—outcomes the U.S. had been seeking. Xi's trip aimed to reduce bilateral tensions and attract foreign investment to China, with promises of action on intellectual property theft and data security. Despite China's economic challenges, including a quarterly deficit in foreign direct investment and political shifts within the Chinese Communist Party, the U.S. government removed a Chinese public security forensic institute from a trade sanction list, a move criticized for potentially undermining the credibility of sanctions.

Although President Biden did not leverage China's economic downturn for further diplomatic gains, an agreement to resume military dialogues following Nancy Pelosi's 2022 trip to Taiwan was seen as a modest success by the administration. However, these resumed dialogues are unlikely to alter Chinese military behavior, which the U.S. deems dangerous. The Biden administration recognizes the need for China to see the value in functional military relations.

During his interactions with Biden, Xi Jinping advocated for peaceful coexistence with the U.S. and presented China as a "partner and friend." Chinese media portrayed Xi's engagement with Biden as effective management of China's most critical economic and political relationship. Xi urged Biden to consider U.S.-China relations in the context of global transformations, hinting at a reshaping of the U.S.-led international system by China and Russia. As Li Mingjiang from the Rajaratnam School of International Studies noted, China acknowledges the importance of maintaining relations with the U.S. and Western countries for its economic development, underlining the complex interdependencies in global politics.

Republican Bias:

Here we go again, folks. The liberal agenda is on full display as Biden and his Democrat cronies continue to throw money at problems instead of finding sustainable solutions. They've pumped $24 billion into emergency child care assistance, and what do we have to show for it? The program's expiring and 3 million child care slots are potentially going out the window. And now they want to throw another $16 billion at the problem. It's clear their only strategy is to keep the money printer running. And let's not forget the international scene. Instead of leveraging China's economic downturn, Biden is cozying up to Xi Jinping, removing sanctions and making agreements. It's a classic liberal move, folks. All talk, no substantive action, and a total disregard for fiscal responsibility.

Liberal Bias:

Once again, we're seeing the disastrous effects of Republican obstructionism. Despite the clear success of the American Rescue Plan in providing essential child care assistance, the GOP remains skeptical of further funding. This is a crisis, folks. Without additional support, we're looking at the loss of 3 million child care slots, impacting countless working families. And on the international front, the Biden administration is making strides in diplomatic relations with China, securing agreements on key issues like fentanyl control and data security. But what's the Republican response? Criticism and fear-mongering. It's clear that the GOP is more interested in scoring political points than in supporting working families or fostering international cooperation.

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