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Warren rolls out universal child care proposal
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Tuesday rolled out a proposal to provide universal access to child care, unveiling a major part of her policy platform as more and more Democratic candidates enter the presidential race.
"My plan will guarantee high-quality child care and early education for every child in America from birth to school age," Warren wrote in an essay on Medium. "It will be free for millions of American families, and affordable for everyone. This is the kind of big, structural change we need to produce an economy that works for everyone."
Warren officially announced that she's running for president earlier this month, and she released her child care proposal at a time when the Democratic primary field is becoming more crowded and every candidate is trying to stand out. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced that he's running for president on Tuesday, and a number of others have also entered the race since the start of the new year.
Warren's child care plan is the latest proposal from a Democratic candidate that's focused on helping young children and working parents. Last week, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) reintroduced her bill to create a federal paid family leave program. That legislation is co-sponsored by Warren and a number of presidential candidates.
Under Warren's proposal, the federal government would partner with local governments, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and others to create a network of options for child care, such as day care centers, preschools and in-home child care options. The options would be available to every family, and providers would have to meet national standards.
The federal government would cover much of the cost of operating the child care options. As a result, families making less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line would receive free coverage, and families making more than that would pay no more than 7 percent of their income to send their children to a child care provider.
Warren said that the program would be optional for families to use, but said that an independent analysis estimated that 12 million children would participate in one of the new options.
The Massachusetts senator said that she would pay for her child care proposal by using some of the revenue generated by her proposed wealth tax. Economists at the University of California, Berkeley estimated that the wealth tax would raise $2.75 trillion over a decade, and Warren said that her child care proposal would cost about one quarter of that amount.
In her Medium essay, Warren recounted her challenges finding quality child care when her children were young. She described her proposal as a "win-win-win."
"It's great for parents, for kids, and for the economy," she wrote.