U.S. Senator Bob Casey met with parents and community leaders in the Brighton Heights neighborhood on Friday, to talk about affordable childcare.
Many of the childcare providers and parents who attended said it’s already hard to find affordable childcare that works with their schedules and budgets. And an effort by the White House to cut funding for children's insurance, they said, could make raising a child even more expensive.
State Representative Jake Wheatley, who represents Brighton Heights, shared his own struggle with finding accessible care for his kids.
“As a father of three, it was very challenging to find a child care service that not only offers the quality I was looking for and the nurturing environment, but also met the schedule that I was involved with,” Wheatley said. “Rarely do you get a center open past 6 p.m. The reason why that’s a challenge is, [centers] don’t have the resources to provide that service.”
The meeting came only a few days after the Trump administration proposed rescissions to the federal budget that would cut $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.
A rescission is when the President asks the legislature to cancel spending that has previously been approved by Congress. If both houses do not approve the rescissions within 45 days spending continues as planned.
Both Senator Casey and Governor Tom Wolf oppose the proposed cuts, which would affect a program that provides health coverage to lower income families. In a statement earlier this week, Wolf noted that CHIP provides insurance to over 180,000 children in Pennsylvania.
“I just wish the administration would look toward other sources of revenue,” Casey said. “It’s pretty hard to make that argument that they’re making when they gave the store to rich people and big corporations in the tax bill.”
Casey pointed to the upcoming elections as a way for voters to push back.
“Think about the first year of the Trump administration. They were obsessed with two things: decimating Medicaid and giving rich people more money," he said. "We could change that whole dynamic.”
But, when asked if he sees a unified message from his party, he laughed.
“I wouldn’t go that far," he said. "Because we’re Democrats.
In a more serious vein, he added, "I think there’s tremendous energy the likes of which I have never seen in my time as a public official. So that energy and intensity will carry over to the general election, and I think Democrats will be unified going into the fall.”
An early test of that momentum may come on Tuesday, as voters head to the polls for the primary election.