Gop Offers Its Child-Care Plan, Says It’s Better Republicans Respond To Clinton Package Unveiled Earlier In Week
A GOP lawmaker outlined Saturday a group of child-care proposals, backed by congressional Republicans, which he called a more effective and much cheaper alternative to President Clinton’s $21.7 billion package.
“Congressional Republicans believe the best way to help American families care for their children is to provide as many options as possible and leave more money in their pockets, not launder it through countless federal programs that shrink every dollar they earn,” Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, said in the weekly GOP radio address.
Clinton unveiled his child-care package earlier this week, including a plan to provide subsidies to low-income parents through state block grants. Other proposals would offer certain families expanded tax credits for child-care expenses and businesses tax breaks for providing child-care services to their employees.
First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said the ultimate goal of her husband’s plan should be to offer choices for families.
“By cobbling together all of these tax credits and other kinds of incentives plus raising the minimum wage - all of these things are giving people real choices,” she said in an interview with Newsweek which hits the newsstands Monday.
“But standing alone, it wouldn’t be very satisfying,” she added. “It’s all part of an overall approach to what I meant when I said, ‘It Takes a Village.’ … it takes a lot of things working together and child care is a very important piece of that - but it’s just a piece.”
Craig said he was disappointed by the hefty price tag attached to Clinton’s proposal.
“Parents don’t want the federal government telling them what they need or how to spend their money. They already know what’s best for them and their children,” he said.
Republican lawmakers have been working on child-care plans of their own for the upcoming congressional session, Craig said. Among them, he said, are a measure to increase tax exemptions for couples with children and legislation that would give families greater flexibility in their work schedules.
He offered no estimated cost for his proposal.
Craig also said Republicans are working on ways to encourage retiring baby boomers to become child care workers and are pushing an “income splitting” plan.
“Income splitting would allow a spouse to claim half of his or her spouse’s income as their own. Each income would then be taxed separately,” he said. “This would give value to the spouse’s work at home, and lower the tax burden of the family, of that couple.”
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