President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan specifically blocks religious facilities, including schools, synagogues, churches, and synagogues, from improving infrastructure funds.
According to the Education and Labor Committee, the bill aims to invest roughly $390 billion in universal pre-K and child care.
The legislation allows states receiving quality and infrastructure grants to apply some of those funds toward “activities to improve the quality and supply of childcare services,” including renovations or remodeling.
However, the text states, “eligible childcare providers may not use funds for buildings or facilities that are used primarily for sectarian instruction or religious worship; or … in which a substantial portion of the functions of the facilities are subsumed in a religious mission.”
The text also states that “a recipient of funds under this subsection may use the funds only to acquire, construct, renovate, or otherwise physically improve the infrastructure of a building primarily used for the provision of childcare services by a childcare provider.”
Representative Mike Kelly, R-Pa., tried to fight against the ban by proposing a Religious Freedom Amendment; however, it failed to pass in September, when the House Ways and Means Committee eliminated it.
According to Kelly’s spokesperson, “The congressman was disappointed that Democrats wouldn’t grant such a simple request to help our children during previous negotiations.
“His Religious Freedom Amendment was an inclusive bill that would have given parents a greater choice and allow them to pick a childcare service that was best for them.”
Biden and Pelosi tout bill’s benefits
Both President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have long touted the Build Back Better plan as beneficial toward parents and children.
“An investment in our children is an investment in our future. That’s why the Build Back Better Framework will deliver two years of free, universal preschool for more than six million children ages 3 and 4,” Biden recently tweeted.
Pelosi called the legislation “transformative” for families and children.
“Build Back Better for Women is transformative for families with the Child Tax Credit, child care, home health care, paid family and medical leave, universal pre-K, workforce development and more,” Pelosi wrote in a recent “Dear Colleague” letter.
The $1.2 trillion bill passed after weeks of internal Democrat infighting between progressives and moderates within the party, which resulted in halving the legislation’s top line.