GOP senator makes fact-free claim that child care threatens 'grandmamas'


Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told Fox that Democrats 'don't want grandmamas helping educate young mamas on how to rear babies.'

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Tuesday accused Democrats of plotting to have the federal government take over child care and hurt grandmothers through provisions included in the Build Back Better Act, which was passed by the House on Nov. 19 and is currently under consideration in the Senate.

During an appearance on Fox News' "The Faulkner Focus," Blackburn told host Harris Faulkner, "They're going to try to sweep up and federalize child care, increase the cost, and then prohibit a lot of grandmamas that are providing 'mother's day out' services at the local church in your community from being able to go to work."

Faulkner asked, "Why do that? Why?" Blackburn responded, "Because they want control. They don't want grandmamas helping educate young mamas on how to rear babies. They want the federal government to certify people, get them to join a union, have them not show up for work."

On the issue of cost, studies have shown that implementation of the legislation would likely lead to lower, not increased child care costs.

An analysis published by the Center for American Progress found that costs would decrease in every state and that in 32 states, a typical family would save $100 a week or more. Over a year, those families would save $5,000 to $6,500 on their child care costs.

The term "mother's day out" refers to child care services, most often offered by churches, that often involve religious instruction.

Blackburn's criticism echoes an allegation made by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a speech on Dec. 7 that the proposed law would lead to a "toddler takeover." He accused Democrats of wanting to "unleash the woke mob on church day care."

These claims mischaracterize how the Build Back Better Act would apply to existing faith-based child care programs.

According to the Center for American Progress, funds provided under the act would count as indirect federal financial assistance, putting faith-based programs in the same category as other child care programs. The law would not prohibit programs from including religious education.

Build Back Better would also allow providers to use grants to expand or improve their existing classrooms or play areas, as long as those facilities were not primarily used for religious worship or instruction.

Additionally, the act would not impose any additional requirements that recipients comply with nondiscrimination statutes. Providers would have to comply with existing federal civil rights laws and would be eligible for existing religious exemptions from those laws.

Despite millions of dollars spent on advertising against the plan and attacks by Republican officials and by outlets like Fox News, polling has shown consistent public support for the social infrastructure package, including its provisions on child care.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.