President Biden’s Build Back Better Act includes a provision that bans religious facilities, like churches, schools and synagogues, from using infrastructure funds to improve their facilities.
“From a portion of the quality child care amount, a State shall provide support, including through awarding facilities grants, for remodeling, renovation, or repair of a building or facility to the extent permitted under section 658F(b) of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858),” the bill states. It then lists “Additional Uses” for the funds.
The bill continues, “For fiscal years 2022 through 2024, and in subsequent years with approval from the Secretary, a State may provide such facilities grants for construction, permanent improvement, or major renovation of a building or facility primarily used for providing child care services, in accordance with the following: (AA) Federal interest provisions will not apply to the renovation or rebuilding of privately-owned family child care homes under this subclause; (BB) Eligible child care providers may not use funds for buildings or facilities that are used primarily for sectarian instruction or religious worship.”
“Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., offered an amendment to strike the provision called the Religious Freedom Amendment, but it failed during the Ways and Means Committee’s markup in September,” Fox News noted.
“The congressman was disappointed that Democrats wouldn’t grant such a simple request to help our children during previous negotiations,” a spokesperson for Kelly told Fox News. “His Religious Freedom Amendment was an inclusive bill that would have given parents greater choice and allow them to pick a child care service that was best for them.”