Sen. Ron Johnson, during a town hall call, on Tuesday called on mothers receiving public assistance to help other mothers by staffing child care centers that care for their children.
And he said it — for the second time since 2016 — despite Wisconsin law prohibiting state subsidy payments from going to a certified child care provider where an employee’s child is receiving care. .
“When you have mothers on different kinds of public support, for me an elegant solution would be, why not have them help childcare staff for other mothers?” he said.
“I think there’s an imaginative solution here,” the Oshkosh Republican continued, adding that his idea would be a win for taxpayers, mothers and children.
Child care centers across the country are facing staffing shortages. The median salary for child care workers, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $25,460 per year or $12.24 per hour.
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“Ron Johnson cares no less for the parents and children of Wisconsin,” Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Philip Shulman said in a statement. “Instead of offering meaningful solutions that would reduce costs, he is pushing a self-serving agenda that is hurting Wisconsin families.”
His comments came in response to a caller asking for Johnson’s solution to help small businesses and, in particular, daycares.
“I understand, you know, having a mother responsible for a group of children plus her own children, she may not be looking after the other children. Again, I understand the concern,” he said. declared.
“There needs to be an imaginative solution where mothers who receive help can be involved in child care centers for other mothers and just be a type of cooperative arrangement here,” he said. for follow-up.
Johnson added that this idea had not yet been explored and said it posed problems. But it wasn’t the first time he had explored the idea.
In 2016, Johnson offered the same solution to WIZM.
“We have prohibitions against that, providing child care to a facility that takes care of your children,” he said. “I think we need to reduce some of these policies. Let’s work smart, let’s rethink all these programs, all the laws. Almost everything has to be redesigned. »
The law restricting eligible recipients of child care subsidies was signed into law after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found in 2009 that child care providers were collecting subsidies while watching each other’s children.
In January, Johnson said it shouldn’t be controversial to worry about the “federal government wanting to take more control over your children,” amid heightened national debate over the teaching of systemic racism in schools.
“What, does the feds want to start indoctrinating our children even earlier?” he said.
His comments came after an interview in late January with La Crosse TV station WKBT in which he said he had ‘never really felt it was society’s responsibility to take care of other people’s children’. .
His comments refer to a Democratic-backed child care subsidy included in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better proposal, which is currently stalled.
Johnson added that he agrees with some federal programs supporting people who cannot support themselves, “but parents need to be responsible for their children.”
Responding to Johnson’s proposal on Tuesday, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Godlewski said, “We have a full-fledged child care crisis and a record number of mothers are being pushed out of the workforce. There are common-sense solutions to these problems, but Ron Johnson’s “imaginative” idea would punish mothers and take us back to the 1950s. I’ve got news for this guy: we’re not going back there.