Senate Democrats' policy ambitions are getting bigger and bigger during the Trump administration — and not just on health care.
On Thursday, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced legislation that would make child care an entitlement, meaning that the federal government would guarantee it much like it guarantees Social Security or Medicare.
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The proposal goes further than the one Senate Democrats were crafting in preparation for a Hillary Clinton administration, according to sources close to the bill, though still not as far as some on the left would like. (The bill's backers note that it has been endorsed by about 100 progressive organizations, including the biggest labor groups.) The plans being drawn up last year would not have made child care a new entitlement, and focused on expanding a different federal program.
"Finding quality child care that doesn't break the bank shouldn't be another thing keeping parents up at night," Murray said in prepared remarks.
The plan is dead on arrival in a Republican Congress. Republicans have primarily focused on expanding child care access through tax credits, not additional spending. As a candidate, President Donald Trump wanted to make child care tax deductible — a proposal pushed by first daughter Ivanka Trump that critics say would largely benefit the wealthy.
But Democrats' bill, while going nowhere, also speaks to how the party's policy ambitions have gotten consistently bigger and bigger across a range of fronts in the Trump era, from health care to college tuition. Universal and affordable child care has long been a progressive policy goal, and now Democrats have a bill — if not a clear path for how they'd pay for it — to get there.