Clinton Pushes Congress On Child Care Initiative
By John King/CNN
WASHINGTON (April 23) -- President Bill Clinton released two new reports Thursday in an effort to push Congress to act on a $21 billion administration child care initiative.
The president said the two new reports prove that good child care is good business and well worth billions more in government spending.
"Do you believe that we could hardly do anything better for America's families than to relieve them of the burden of being terribly worried about their children while they are at work?" Clinton asked.
A new Treasury Department report shows day care problems hurt worker productivity. A separate Labor Department study examines what types of programs work and the growing demand for child care.
During an event in the Rose Garden, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said, "Today, three out of five mothers with children under six work outside the home and at least five million school-age children are left unsupervised during those critical hours."
The president's child care initiative includes:
- $7.5 billion dollars over five years to double the number of children getting child care subsidies to more than 2 million.
- $5 billion to expand the existing child care tax credit.
- $500 million in tax credits for businesses that help workers with child care.
Several competing plans are working their way through Congress. One leading Republican plan would cost $15 billion and includes modest tax credits for parents who stay at home.
"You can't beat the care that a parent is going to give; that is the finest care possible, but that individual is forgoing wages or a salary from a job," Republican Rhode Island Sen. John Chafee said.
Clinton says he's happy to consider other ideas.
"I'm willing to negotiate with anyone who wants to help people raise their
children better so that people can succeed at home and at work," Clinton said.
Helping working families is a theme of both parties in this congressional
election year. White House aides predict there will ultimately be a
deal, after a tug of war over just how much more the federal government should
spend on child care.