Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday prodded President Biden to include $700 billion in his infrastructure package to make child care free for many parents — far more than the $225 billion he is expected to propose when addressing a joint session of Congress this week.
The proposal from Ms. Warren also goes further than the roughly $600 billion plan by Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Bobby Scott, the top Democrats on the Senate and House labor committees.
“We have to make a big enough of an investment to get the job done not only for some of our children but for all of our children,” said Ms. Warren, Massachusetts Democrat.
The same bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Mondaire Jones, New York Democrat.
Under the proposal, the federal government would subsidize child care so that parents making less than twice the federal poverty level, or about $53,000 for families of four, would pay nothing for child care.
Those who make more would pay no more than 7% of their income on child care.
Mr. Biden is expected to propose far less for child care when he reveals the details of a $1.5 trillion “American Families Plan” during his speech to Congress on Wednesday.
Ms. Warren’s proposal would dramatically lower how much families spend on child care.
Families below the federal poverty level currently spend nearly a third of their income on child care. Those making between the poverty level and twice that amount, spend 18% of their income on child care, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal Washington, D.C., think tank.
The proposal would also use taxpayer dollars to raise the pay of child care workers to be at the same level as public school teachers in the same area.
Ms. Warren said she would pay for the plan through her proposal to tax households and trusts who make more than $50 million.
Her plan is not expected to garner Republican support.
Republicans already raised objections to Mr. Biden‘s infrastructure plan that funds a slew of projects that have nothing to do with roads, bridges, airports and railroads that most people associate with infrastructure. Senate Republicans have proposed a much narrower $568 billion plan that they say is more fiscally responsible and focuses on real infrastructure projects.
Ms. Warren argued improving access to child care should be considered to be infrastructure.
“Infrastructure is about people getting to work — roads, bridges. And child care is part of that. For parents to go to work, they need access to high-quality, dependable child care,” she said.