LEXINGTON, Ky. — Hillary Clinton is pledging Tuesday that as president she will ensure that families pay no more than 10 percent of their income on child care, a significant and rising cost for working parents.
The Democratic presidential front-runner’s campaign said the mix of federal subsidies or tax credits to pay for the new benefit will be announced later. Clinton will also propose raising wages for child-care workers and expanding home-visit programs for new parents.
“Secretary Clinton is acutely aware that the middle class is extremely stretched when it comes to affording quality childcare,” Clinton campaign policy adviser Ann O’Leary said in a statement. “While middle class wages have stagnated in the last decade, costs of childcare have gone up by nearly 25 percent.”
Clinton wants “substantial new investments” in federal subsidies for lower-income families and tax breaks for middle-class families to meet the goal of limiting costs to 10 percent of family income, O’Leary said.
The Clinton campaign said that the monthly cost of sending two children to a quality child-care center is higher than the average cost of rent in every state. In a majority of states, the cost of infant care is higher than the tuition at public universities, the campaign statement claimed.
Clinton was visiting a child-care center in Louisville later Tuesday, after holding a discussion on the financial and other challenges for young families at a state family services office in Lexington.
Kentucky holds its Democratic primary on May 17. While polling is scant, rival Sen. Bernie Sanders is favored in the state. Losses this month, including an expected defeat in the West Virginia primary Tuesday, would slightly erode Clinton’s lead over Sanders but not change the overall dynamic that all but ensures she will be the nominee.
Clinton’s focus on family services and the cost of child care may have less to do with Sanders and more to do with taking a policy-heavy high road against likely Republican nominee Donald Trump.
On Monday she talked about schools, child care and family budgets with a small group of invited guests at a coffee shop in suburban Loudoun County, Va., a swing county in a key swing state.
The settings and topics are meant to contrast Clinton’s experience and problem-solving approach with what her campaign calls Trump’s thin credentials and skimpy proposals. Campaign aides and Clinton allies are slamming the presumptive Republican nominee hourly, but Clinton herself is seeking to stay out of the mud six months before the election.
On Monday she deflected reporters’ questions about whether it is fair or appropriate for Trump to raise former President Bill Clinton’s infidelity.
“I’m going to let him run his campaign however he chooses,” she said in Virginia. “I’m going to run my campaign, which is about a positive vision for our country with specific plans that I think will help us solve problems that we’re facing.”
Also on Tuesday, Clinton planned to propose a new program to help fund higher wages for child-care workers, whose wages often remain low despite the overall high cost of child care in institutional settings. The program, like one she has proposed for caregivers for the elderly and disabled, would fund and reward states for helping raise caregiver wages.
She was also proposing home visit services for more than 2 million parents and young children over the next 10 years to improve maternal and child health and children’s development and learning. Her campaign said Clinton wants to double federal investment in “evidence-based” home-visit programs in which social workers or nurses provide instruction, tips and resources.
source: The Washington Post, Post Politics, By Anne Gearan, May 10