Child Care in President Biden’s State of Union Address

March 9, 2022

The State of the Union Address is an annual speech that the President of the United States delivers to the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. The speech generally focuses on challenges and achievements for Americans and calls on Congress to take action for solutions.

Once again this year, President Biden prioritized child care as a critical issue that families and the workforce are facing and called on Congress to act to address this ever-growing problem in his State of the Union last week:

“The third thing we can do to change the standard of living for hard-working folks is cut the cost of child care. Cut the cost of child care. Folks, if you live in a major city in America, you pay up to $14,000 a year for child care per child. I was a single dad for five years raising two kids. I had a lot of help, though. I had a mom, a dad, a brother and a sister that really helped. Middle-class and working folks shouldn’t have to pay more than 7 percent of their income to care for their young children. My plan would cut the cost in half for most families and help parents, including millions of women, who left the work force during the pandemic because they couldn’t afford child care, to be able to get back to work. Generating economic growth. But my plan doesn’t stop there. It also includes home and long-term care. More affordable housing. Pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds. All of these will lower costs for families” (Biden, SOTU, 2022).

Federal role and federal proposals:

Congress and the Administration have a crucial role in child care investments that support state policy choices. This year’s speech was focused on the difficulties families face paying for child care. The policy priorities of the Administration, though, are about investing in families and in the early childhood workforce at the same time.

In the news:

“Biden’s emphasis on early education and child care on Tuesday night, however, signals what he envisions to be a large part of a revised package. And it comes at a time when the administration has been increasingly pressing Congress to take it on as a stand-alone bill” (U.S. News, 2022).

“Mr. Biden also called on Congress to work with him on priorities that were part of his stalled “Build Back Better” plan—though he no longer uses that term—including cutting the cost of prescription drugs, reducing energy costs and lowering the cost of child care. And he tried to connect with Americans frustrated by rising prices” (WSJ, 2022).

“While avoiding using the name of the package, the president ticked through items his aides believe enjoy broad support when taken independently: lowering prescription drug costs, making child care more affordable, raising taxes on the wealthy and helping fight climate change” (Politico, 2022).

“President Biden laid out his plan to tackle rising inflation during his State of the Union remarks, including a proposal to cut the cost of child care” (CNN, 2022).