“People decide to have families”
Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who opposes greater access to abortion, said the government should not fund child care.
“People decide to have families and to become parents,” Johnson said in an interview Wednesday with WKBT. “It’s something they have to consider when making that choice. I never really thought it was society’s responsibility to take care of other people’s children.”
Commenters on Twitter criticized Johnson for refusing government-funded care for children despite past statements and policy stances attempting to restrict abortions for unwanted pregnancies.
During the interview, Johnson blamed Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration for recent inflation and labor shortages. He also said he raised unemployment benefits, which were originally passed by former President Donald Trump, contributed to the shortages.
Johnson added that society should create good job opportunities so that workers can provide for their families.
Johnson’s comments likely refer to Biden’s Build Back Better plan that would provide funding to low-income families to afford child care. The bill would provide a child care tax credit of $3,000 to $3,600 per child per year for eligible individuals earning less than $75,000 a year or couples earning less than $150,000.
Child care for infants and toddlers typically costs — on average, per child — between about $13,000 and $16,000 per year, according to the Center for American Progress (CAP). CAP is a liberal public policy research and advocacy organization that focuses on economic and social issues.
Johnson’s spokeswoman Alexa Henning said Newsweek that he was responding to a question about how the federal government can help with child care due to labor shortages.
“A study showed that families’ child care costs would increase by an average of $13,000 per child, per year, if another Democratic policy were adopted,” Henning said. “It doesn’t help the families.”
Last year Johnson co-sponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act which would ban abortions 20 weeks after fertilization.
Abortion advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America criticized the bill, noting that late-term abortions generally only occur when the birth poses a significant risk to the life of the parent.
Johnson has also backed policies that block the use of federal funds to support all abortion-related health care.
Commenters on Twitter criticized Johnson for wanting the government to force parents to have children, but not wanting the government to help parents raise their newborns.
the Democratic Party of Wisconsin wrote, “Elected leaders should be advocating for our children to succeed, not against it. This is shameful behavior on the part of Senator Ron Johnson.”
the Senate Democrats wrote, “Senator Ron Johnson says out loud the quiet part: Republicans don’t care about affordable child care.”
Journalist Kate Sommers Dawes wrote: “Very interested to know what Senator Ron Johnson thinks about corporate responsibility.”
Jacobson added, “No, on the one hand, it’s not a ‘choice,’ if people who get pregnant can’t choose not to be pregnant. Who would want that guy as a senator?”
twitter user Merrin Dungey wrote, “You can teach sex ed or you can empower women to be Pro Choice or you can provide health and child care. Choose the way af *****g @SenRonJohnson,” adding, “You can’t deny all three.”