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Clinton: Cap Child-Care Costs at 10 Percent of Family Income

Ally Boguhn

A 2015 analysis by the Economic Policy Institute found that in 33 states and Washington, D.C., child care costs were higher than the average cost of in-state tuition at public universities.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will address the lack of affordable health care in the United States by pitching a child-care agenda Tuesday that includes a promise to cap costs at 10 percent of a family’s income.

Clinton’s campaign says the candidate will discuss her plans during a campaign stop at a family health center in Louisville, Kentucky. Ann O’Leary, senior policy adviser to Clinton, told Politico in a statement that Clinton “will call for substantial new investments in both subsidies for low and lower-middle class families, as well as new investments in tax breaks for middle class families to afford child care.”

Though Clinton will promise to use the federal government to ensure that families don’t have to pay more than 10 percent of their income in child-care costs, the campaign has not yet released details about how the spending cap would be implemented or how the government would pay for the policy. 

Costs associated with child care take up a significant portion of family budgets in the United States, and disproportionately impact people who work for minimum wage. A 2015 analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that in 33 states and Washington, D.C., child-care costs were higher than the average cost of in-state tuition at public universities.

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Clinton is expected to propose doubling spending on the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Initiative, a “home visiting” program, reports the Huffington Post. The program sends nurses, social workers, and early childhood educators to homes in order to support “pregnant women and families and helps at-risk parents of” young children, build skills to raise “physically, socially and emotionally healthy” children, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The federal program in 2015 “served 145,500 parents and children in 825 counties in every U.S. state, DC, and five territories.”

Clinton will call for a new program to raise pay and provide training for child-care workers. The program will be called the “Respect And Increased Salaries for Early Childhood Educators,” or the RAISE Initiative.

Rival Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has spoken out against both the rising costs of child care and the low pay those who work in that industry receive. Sanders, during an MSNBC town hall event in February, called for better training and higher pay for child-care workers and for “quality child care for all working families,” to be paid for by taxing the wealthy.

Republicans campaigning for president have largely ignored affordable child care. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump refused to provide a definitive answer to how he would deal with the issue when asked about it during a campaign appearance in December. Trump had questioned why more companies did not already provide child care for their employees, claiming during an Iowa town hall that it’s “not expensive for a company to do it” and noting that it was a benefit provided by some of his companies.

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