Clinton Unveils $22 Billion Child Care Initiative
By John King/CNN
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 7) -- Dubbing it the "single largest national
commitment to child care in the history of the United States," President Bill Clinton unveiled his $22 billion initiative to help working families find quality, affordable child care.
"It is a comprehensive and fiscally responsible plan to make child care more affordable and accessible, to raise the quality of child care, to assure the safety of care for millions of American children," Clinton said at this afternoon's White House event. (544K wav sound)
Clinton's five-year plan includes an array of new federal spending. Block grants to the states equaling $7.5 billion dollars would help low income parents find and pay for child care. (480K wav sound)
Another $5 billion would be used to increase the federal income tax credit for child care costs. (256K wav sound)
Those making less than $30,000 a year could subtract 50 percent of their child care costs from their tax bill, while those making more than $59,000 could subtract 20 percent. Families in between would get a credit based on their income.
The president also proposed $500 million in tax incentives for small and medium businesses who build or expand child care facilities on their premises.
The proposal is an outgrowth of the White House Child Care Conference in October. Speaking before the president at today's event were Tipper Gore, first lady Hillary Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.
The White House child care proposal will be highlighted again in his State of the Union address on Jan. 27.
Clinton argued, "There is no more important job than raising a child. There is no more important responsibility than to create the conditions and give people the tools to succeed at raising their children." (448K wav sound)
This initiative is one of several new social programs Clinton will include in his new federal budget he will submit to Congress in February. He also wants to expand Medicare, spend more on the college work study aide and other education programs and boost the food stamps budget.
The White House and Democratic allies believe programs like the child care initiative will have enormous election-year appeal.
But many Republicans are warning that the president is using good federal budget news to propose a big liberal spending spree. Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) "I think this is an interesting week we are in; the president has a new idea to create new massive programs every single day."
Some White House aides are worried that Republican charges that Clinton is a big spender will stick, as they did in the 1994 elections. So every time Clinton unveils a new program he reminds his audience he is the president who is about to balance the federal budget.