There was a time, not all that long ago, that the United States nearly had universal child care.
Actually, there was a time, a little longer ago, that the United States did have universal child care, but we’ll get to that in a moment. For now, we are talking about the Comprehensive Child Development Bill, which passed Congress in 1971 before being vetoed by President Richard Nixon. For now, we are talking about the history of that legislation and how it serves as a microcosm of this nation’s inability to confront issues.
Oh, that’s probably reading too much into it. But I was reminded of the Comprehensive Child Development Bill recently when Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler paid a visit to the editorial board.
In running down her list of legislative efforts, Herrera Beutler touched upon child care: “This is probably one of the No. 1 issues people with families, young families, come to me about, and it spans the income spectrum. It’s remarkable to me. It’s one of the top issues that I get asked about.”
No wonder. With many families needing two incomes to put food on the table — and with many others having one parent — it can be difficult to find affordable, reliable care.