Biden’s Child-Care Plan Is Wrong for Families and Ignores the Lessons of the Past
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
February 11, 2021
America’s families are in crisis. The pandemic has placed major strains on American families, as shown by rising household debt numbers. But even before the pandemic, Americans were getting married less and having fewer children than ever before, and the cost of living for middle-class families was far too high.
I will gladly support more pandemic relief for families. But while President Biden and Democrats in Congress claim to support them also, buried in their $1.9 trillion spending plan is a proposal that would create a new program to give monthly cash payments to parents, not just for the pandemic, but permanently.
Their plan would send all parents checks totaling up to $3,600 per child and hand out new subsidies for day care. No questions asked and no strings attached.
That is not pro-family policy, no matter how much Democrats will claim it to be.
If pulling families out of poverty were as simple as handing moms and dads a check, we would have solved poverty a long time ago. There is substantially more to lifting families out of poverty than government-provided income, and for decades, there was a bipartisan consensus that work, marriage, and community were critical pieces of poverty reduction.
The corrosive effect of cash payments with no strings attached was once widely accepted. In 1988, then-Senator Biden expressed concern that the “welfare system has broken down” because “it only parcels out welfare checks and does nothing to help the poor find productive jobs.”
It is not pro-family to provide cash payments without ensuring that at least one parent has a stable job or a path to getting one, because it makes the family reliant on those cash benefits.
It is not pro-family to remove longstanding financial incentives for low-income single parents to marry.
It is not pro-family to provide direct cash payments without ensuring parents with troubled histories, whether because of crime or substance abuse, are put on a path to recovery and stability.
It is not pro-family to provide direct cash payments to single parents without ensuring child-support orders are established, and to do so will destroy the child-support enforcement system as we know it.
The good news is that we can support parents without undermining the inherent value and dignity of work.
Last week, Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) and I outlined a proposal that would expand the child tax credit to $3,500 per child, and $4,500 per child under the age of six. The key difference — aside from being an even larger credit than proposed by Biden — is that ours is directly tied to work. This is critical because it would provide additional support to families while maintaining the vital connection to work.
The coronavirus pandemic has made flourishing difficult, but we cannot allow that to become a permanent condition. By supporting families and work, we can actually rebuild and repair, and make our country stronger than it has ever been before.