A group of parents expressed concern about the potentially "detrimental" effects of President Joe Biden's child care programs included in his recently-signed $1.85 trillion Build Back Better bill.

Faithwire said the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops detest the "strings attached to the Pre-K and child-care plans" of the Build Back Better bill that is anticipated to force religious groups to act in violation of their own beliefs.

The Build Back Better bill changes the way the government engages with Pre-K and childcare centers by reclassifying them as direct recipients of federal funds, which in turn would force them to comply to certain nondiscrimination laws.

Previously, federal funding is coursed through the Child Care and Development Block Grant program received by families who are then given the option where it will be used. This process makes childcare centers as non-direct recipients of federal fund and exempts them from such nondiscrimination laws. Thus, the religious groups are asking the United States Congress to make changes with the Build Back Better bill in line with this.

As per Faithwire, early childhood care providers are mostly provided by faith-based organizations that serve roughly 53% of families. The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the leaders of the Catholic Church said in an interview with the New York Times that Biden's bill mandates all childhood care providers comply with non-discrimination statutes that religious organizations are actually exempt from.

"The provision at issue is a standard one in many federal laws, which would mandate that all providers comply with federal nondiscrimination statutes. Religious organizations, whose child care programs are currently exempt from some such laws, argue that it would effectively block many of their providers from participating, while civil rights advocates contend it is long past time for such institutions to comply," The New York Times said.

The issue lies in the pro-LGBTQ provisions of the nondiscrimination laws such as those that involve employment. Christian employers are prohibited to refuse members of the LGBTQ to be hired. The same goes for atheists. This would also mean closures for small child care facilities who are not equipped for disabled students.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Associate Director for Public Policy Janet Daniels pointed out in an interview with The New York Times that these nondiscrimination laws would impact their services greatly

"It will be detrimental to our ability to participate. It would impact our ability to stick with our Catholic mission in a variety of ways. We've worked really hard to make our concerns known," Daniels said.

However, Democrats pointed out that allowing discrimination for programs funded by the government is "wrong" and have stressed their opposition to efforts of the religious groups to revise the Build Back Better bill.

"The Build Back Better Act must not allow government-funded discrimination--in employment or in the provision of services to participants--in publicly funded programs. We believe that allowing such discrimination financed with public funds collected from all taxpayers is wrong," Virginia Representative Robert Scott and Ohio Representative Joyce Beatty said as per Faithwire.

"We are asking you to oppose any effort to remove or change the nondiscrimination provisions included in the child care and universal preschool provisions of the Build Back Better Act," they continued.

But West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin sided with religious groups by raising their importance in helping families especially in his state. Manchin said providing religious groups with federal funding would be beneficial and insisted that they be granted the exemption sought for. Manchin's insistence on the exemption "found widespread support" though no action was taken to revise the bill.


(Correction Nov. 23, 2020, 7:40 a.m. EST): Added the complete name of the USCCB Associate Director for Public Policy, Janet Daniels, whose name was not completely mentioned in an earlier version of this report. We sincerely apologize for any confusion this might have caused.