The Republican attack on President Joe Biden’s plan to make childcare more affordable and accessible has escalated around defending the right to discrimination. Republican politicians and media started arguingfalsely that the plan would exclude religious childcare providers from receiving the new federal funds. In fact, it includes them very explicitly. But what religious groups are screaming now is that the democratic plan does to say they should abide by the anti-discrimination rules.
So it’s not like religious childcare providers can’t accept federal subsidies under the Build Back Better proposal. It is that they could not do this while also discriminating against staff or families and their children for any reason attributed to faith.
Biden’s Build Back Better plan would be “ensure that middle-class families pay no more than 7% of their income for childcare and will help states expand access to high-quality, affordable childcare services to around 20 million children per year, covering 9 out of 10 families across the country with young children, “ according to the White House. “For two parents with a child earning $ 100,000 annually, the framework will produce more than $ 5,000 in childcare savings annually. Almost any family of four earning up to $ 300,000 annually will be eligible. “
This is what is at stake for millions of families. But on the other hand, you have the right to discriminate, and there’s really no competition where Republicans land.
The New York Times offers some examples of how the application of anti-discrimination rules could affect the functioning of these programs: “For example, it could prevent federal funds from going to programs that refused to hire a gay employee, gave preference to candidates of their faith, or failed to renovate their facilities to accommodate disabled students. “And all of these forms of discrimination are, according to Republicans, to defend.Although many cases of high-profile religious discrimination involve discrimination against LGBT people, it is not just homophobia at work: it is much broader than that.
Currently, some religious programs obtain federal money indirectly through the Child Care and Development Block Grant program and, because it is indirect, they manage to circumvent anti-discrimination laws. Some religious groups – not all, because not all religious groups put discrimination at the heart of their faith – are calling for this to continue.
“It will be detrimental to our ability to participate,” according to a spokesman for the United States Bishops’ Conference. “It would affect our ability to remain faithful to our Catholic mission in various ways.”
You’re talking about yourself, here.
But as we know, it is now a central tenet of the republican faith that religious groups – at least Christian ones – should have the right to discriminate and obtain the same benefits as non-discriminatory groups. There is no concept here that you can follow the rules and get rewards for doing so, or it can be said that staying in principle is more important than extra funding. They want both. Both require.
We need to be specific about the kind of things they propose, because the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and other groups, including a major Orthodox Jewish group, are looking to amass a significant expansion of childcare funding, one that it would make care affordable for low- and middle-income families, as well as their right to exclude some people.
“Who do they want to exclude? Is it the lesbian mom you want to exclude?” Liz King of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights asked, “Do you want to exclude children with autism? Since at least 1964, the law and the underlying principle have been that federal funds cannot be used to discriminate. Nobody should subsidize their discrimination. “
Predictably, pro-discrimination groups have found not only fierce support from Republicans, but a sympathetic ear from conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, creating yet another brawl among progressives in the House who think the funding of discrimination it would be wrong and Manchin in the Senate who thinks blocking progress is his most winning position.
Reprinted with permission from Kos. daily.