Republicans spread new lie about Joe Biden’s child care plan | Top stories

Republicans spread new lie about Joe Biden’s child care plan

| News Today | abc News

The problem with political lie checking is that it usually comes too late, especially when it comes to conservative lies that fester in an island media universe. By the time people outside notice it, no report can dislodge them.

But it’s one of those rare times when you can spot a lie in its early stages, before it sets in.

The subject of the misrepresentation is a Democratic early years initiative designed to make decent and affordable child care available to all Americans who want it. To hear some conservatives say, churches and other religious organizations providing child care could not be part of the program.

What the text says

The initiative is part of the “Build Back Better” legislation that President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders are trying to push through Congress this fall.

The main way to help families would be through grants, which families could use to pay for child care costs. And one passage to page 163 of the bill states: “Nothing in this article prevents the use of such [subsidies] for sectarian childcare if freely chosen by the parent.

This passage is not particularly difficult to spot. This is the third full sentence of the section of the Child Custody Act. But several conservatives seem to have missed it.

“If you want to send your kids to a religious daycare or a pre-K program, again, the Democrats are not offering you anything. Conn Carroll, commentary editor at the Washington Examiner, wrote last week.

“Democrats are ending bipartisan and decades-old protections for preschools and religious daycares that will pressure institutions to choose between federal funding and their faith,” the senator said. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) Tweeted.

“Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims and Mormons who place their children in a day care center of their denomination are not entitled to any assistance” Tom donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, wrote in a column for CNS News.

“Religious providers are fully eligible and we are delighted that they are part of it. “

– Helen Hare, Director of Communications for Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

It’s not hard to imagine why Republicans and their allies would spread this misinformation. They need a way to tackle the child care proposal, which appears to be popular but which they oppose on various substantive grounds. (It’s too much government spending, too much regulation, too much support for childcare versus home parenting, etc.)

This particular charge has the advantage of adapting carefully in the narrative Republicans created about Democrats trying to take educational choices away from parents. It also has the potential to attract the millions of working parents whose children are already in church day care.

What the text means

But the basic strategy of the Democratic proposal for better or for worse, depending on your perspective – is to build a better child care system using the elements that already exist. And faith centers are one of those rooms. In 2020 survey of working parents who use daycare, more than half reported that their children attended daycare at a place of worship or other faith-based organization.

“Religious providers are fully eligible and we are delighted they are included,” Helen Hare, communications director for one of the the initial co-sponsors of the plan, sen. Patty murray (D-Wash.), Told the HuffPost. “One of the things Senator Murray and the Democrats wanted to do in writing this policy is to make sure it builds on programs that already serve communities, including faith-based providers.”

A senior House Democratic House official echoed this sentiment. “The bill gives parents the ability to choose a provider that best meets their needs including faith-based providers – and it ensures that faith-based providers can receive grants to build their capacity. “

It’s not just spinning. Micah Schwartzman, a University of Virginia law professor who specializes in religion and First Amendment issues, reviewed the legislation at the request of HuffPost and found the eligibility of faith centers to be clear. “This is, in effect, a federally funded voucher program that will be administered by the state governments. The program explicitly includes religious providers.

Caroline Mala Corbin, a law professor at the University of Miami, noted that the exclusion of faith-based providers would likely not survive legal scrutiny, given current doctrine on faith and politics.

“The program explicitly includes religious providers. “

– Micah Schwartzman, professor of law at the University of Virginia

“If the government creates a program to help subsidize day care centers or child care providers, then under current Supreme Court rules it would violate the free exercise clause if the government completely excluded any religious provider,” Corbin said. “But it’s not that [the proposal] made. Religious child care providers are eligible for government funds.

This is also, moreover, the understanding of many faith-based providers, in part because this is the way they have always operated. Churches and other religious organizations are already eligible for government grants under the federal Head Start program and another program child care program that states administer with federal funds.

“The idea is that it is a system open to everyone, so it is a mixed service, whether denominational or [secular] private daycare, or Head Start, or public preschool, ”Jane Pernicone, director of the Children’s Center of First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland, told HuffPost. “I have not read the 2,000 pages of the bill, but what I understand from experts and colleagues from different sectors is that it is open to everyone.”

Pernicone noted that her daycare has many children who are not Baptists, which is common for faith-based providers. They gladly serve children of any denomination, or no denomination, just as many parents willingly send their children to daycares run by other denominations.

How the plan would work

According to the proposal, sectarian and secular suppliers would have to meet state licensing requirements while meeting new requirements included in the bill, such as higher compensation for workers, in order to accept project grants. of law and to have access to subsidies. Providers would also have to comply with certain existing anti-discrimination rules, drawn from existing programs, including Head Start, which would apply to both employees as well as families and children served by the centers.

It’s easy enough to imagine a controversy over anti-discrimination requirements say, if a church-based child care provider doesn’t want to employ LGBTQ caregivers – the same way conflicts have erupted. and have triggered legal action over childcare services and birth control warrants for health insurance.

But faith-based organizations already benefit from some special exemptions from discrimination laws, in part thanks to a “ministerial exceptionWhich allows institutions to limit employment to people of the same faith when they are involved in religious education. And objecting to the possibility that the federal program could exclude certain child care providers who discriminate is very different from saying that the program would exclude religious centers altogether, especially when so many religious providers who are now part of the programs. Federal early years abide by these rules with little apparent problem.

“The idea is that it is a system open to everyone, so it is a mixed service, whether denominational or [secular] private childcare.

– Jane Pernicone, First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland Children’s Center.

The only piece of legislation that identifies religion as an additional control criterion covers special grants to improve quality and increase the capacity that the program would make available to providers. The article states that “eligible child care providers may not use funds for buildings or facilities that are primarily used for sectarian education or religious worship.”

But the key word in this passage is “primarily”. The meaning would ultimately depend on the decisions of federal and state regulators and perhaps the courts – which both experts argued would likely translate as a demand that churches spend the money on child care rather than, say, a new altar in the chapel.

“It would appear that the language of the law is only meant to limit spending on things that are primarily for religious use,” Corbin said. “It depends on who interprets the law, of course, but the worst-case scenario – this idea of ​​banning religious child care providers from making improvements – seems like a deliberation to read the word ‘mostly’ out of the law.” . “

“It seems clear that the intention is to ensure that the program money is actually used to provide child care services and not for buildings or facilities that are only used for primarily religious purposes. “said Schwartzman.

Alas, this distinction has probably been lost on the millions of people who have read a recent New York Post article on restrictions.

The introduction of the article categorically stated that the initiative would prevent faith-based providers from obtaining the grants. And although a later passage quoted the legislation accurately, the headline “Biden’s Building Better Prevents Religious Facilities from Using Funds” gave the impression that churches and other such providers could not get money. ‘money at all.

None of the statements were true. Whether that counts remains to be seen.


Top Stories News Today Republicans spread new lie about Joe Biden’s child care plan

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