Axne and First Lady Biden tout child care as infrastructure

WEDNESDAY — First Lady Jill Biden and Congresswoman Cindy Axne held an event in Ankeny Wednesday to tout elements of the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package Democrats are proposing. Jill Biden said it would guarantee access to high quality, child care and free preschool.

“Whether you’re a struggling single parent or a dual income family, the cost of child care can be crushing,” Biden said. “…This is infrastructure and investing in working families is the best way that we are going to recover from this pandemic.”

Axne told reporters America’s roads and bridges need repairs, but she fields far more concerns from Iowans about a lack of child care options. “We’ve got waiting lists over 80 kids strong in Stanton, Iowa — a tiny town, so imagine what some of our larger cities are facing as well, “Axne said. “This is a real problem here.”

The pair mentioned the expanded child tax credit Democrats approved this spring, The infrastructure package House Democrats are proposing would extend it for four more years. Axne told the crowd in Ankeny 80% of Iowa children have parents receiving additional tax relief this week from the now temporary credit.

“And, as the president would say himself: ‘That’s a big deal,’” Axne said and the first lady laughed as the crowd applauded.

It’s a partial quote of then-Vice President Joe Biden’s comment on passage of the Affordable Care Act.

The pitch to Iowans from the first lady and Axne comes as the Biden Administration tries to get reluctant Democrats in congress to vote for the infrastructure package. Axne told reporters “first and foremost,” no one knows if the final package will reach $3.5 trillion.

“Secondly, this is over a decade, so this is not spending in one year. Third, it’s about an investment. It’s time we invest in this country…It’s time we do this again,” Axne said. “Our working families need it.”

The Iowa Republican Party’s chairman said Axne and other Democrats should “be worried” about following Biden’s agenda after the GOP candidate for an Iowa House seat won Tuesday’s special election in a swing district in Ankeny.

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