- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2020

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday called for child care and schools to be top priorities as the country continues to try and reopen during the coronavirus crisis.

In an op-ed in USA Today, the California Republican highlighted staggering numbers of day cares and schools that were either shuttered for good during the pandemic or plan to reopen on a part-time and staggered basis.

“We now see a looming crisis for schools and child care. If it’s left unaddressed, it will exacerbate the economic crisis caused by the pandemic by preventing parents across the country from returning to work, and continue to widen the socioeconomic gap,” Mr. McCarthy wrote.

Congress is set to start working on its next coronavirus relief act by mid-July when the Senate returns from recess, and Mr. McCarthy called for child care providers and schools be at the top of the list for aid.

This should also apply to “small home-based providers,” Mr. McCarthy argued, saying they should be considered as a small start-up business to get access to regional networks and resources for recruitment.

Republicans have resisted Democrats’ calls since May to push through another stimulus bill quickly, arguing they wanted to see how the other major packages — costing nearly $3 trillion — impacted the devastated economy.

That package would provide for a surge in state and local funding, an additional round of direct payments to the public, with additional funds for vote-by-mail initiatives and the struggling Post Office.

Republicans have dismissed that massive package as an overpriced partisan wish-list.

President Trump has signaled his support for another round of stimulus checks.

Meanwhile, Republicans’ “red line” for any additional relief bill is liability protection for business owners, which Mr. McCarthy argued would benefit these kinds of services for kids.

“A wave of such lawsuits threatens to prevent child care providers and schools from reopening, which would undermine the economic and social recovery of our country,” he said.

Mr. McCarthy also said Congress needs to ensure that the Department of Health and Human Services specifically studies how the coronavirus affects and spreads among children, as well as provide resources for state governments so schools have access to antibody testing.

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