Build Back Better plan will only worsen state childcare crisis
To the Editor;
Aside from its $1.7 trillion price tag – with the CBO estimating its true cost as high as $5 trillion – the Biden administration’s Build Back Better plan has some concerning provisions that will only worsen the childcare crisis in Maine.
The plan eliminates a longstanding religious exemption for faith-based child care providers and threatens to close such centers across the country. If passed, the bill will reclassify faith-based providers as direct funding recipients, meaning those providers would be subject to non-discrimination provisions currently exempted under the Child Care and Development Block Grant program.
Maine has lost 187 licensed childcare providers since April 2020 due to the shutdowns and pandemic-related staffing shortages since. This has led to parents being put on long waiting lists – if they’re even lucky enough – or unable to work altogether. Biden’s plan would make it worse by forcing faith-based child care providers to either disavow their own beliefs or religion to follow non-discrimination policies, or lose their funding.
Faith-based providers would also be subject to the bill’s Head Start non-discrimination provisions that apply to all child care and universal pre-K programs, regardless of whether the provider even offers such a program. This overarching provision strips away any religious protections providers have in offering faith-based programming.
Removing the exemptions protecting religious liberties will undoubtedly force faith-based childcare providers out of federal funding. It’s obvious that the plan’s Democrat architects knew exactly what they were doing. Unfortunately, parents will be the victims here, and religious liberty will be the casualty.
Sen. Stacey Guerin