Jun. 12—WILKES-BARRE — U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said Wednesday as Americans, it is our duty to secure the blessings of freedom for the children of today and tomorrow.
"As a lawmaker, it is my solemn obligation to create policies and support investments that are commensurate with this commitment," Casey said.
Casey, D-Scranton, has offered a proposal would include automatic Medicaid enrollment for all children at birth, and the establishment of children's savings accounts.
Throughout America, Casey said children lack health care, economic security, education, adequate nutrition and safety.
In an effort to ensure every child in America has the freedom to reach their full potential, Casey is introducing the Five Freedoms for America's Children — a bold legislative plan to set all American children up to succeed.
Casey's plan identifies five basic freedoms that our society must guarantee to the nation's children:
—Freedom to be Healthy
—Freedom to be Economically Secure
—Freedom to Learn
—Freedom from Hunger
—Freedom to be Safe from Harm
"For too long, corrupt forces have warped our government so that it works for corporate interests rather than our children's best interests," Casey said. "The COVID-19 pandemic further disrupted children's lives and growth, and pushed more children and families into poverty. It is time for an aggressive and forward-leaning legislative plan that prioritizes children and reverses these trends, ensuring all children have the opportunity not just to grow, but to thrive."
Casey said his Five Freedoms proposal is a comprehensive set of policies that would better the lives of children, including the following:
—Automatic enrollment in Medicaid until age 18.
—Establishment of children's savings accounts for every child whose parent(s) or guardian earns under $100,000 per year, and permanent expansion of the Child Tax Credit.
—Increased Head Start funding by $18 billion annually and permanent expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
—Enhanced automatic certification for school meal programs and expanded universal meal service in low- and moderate-income schools.
—Increased investment in community and state-based child protective services.
Casey said the Five Freedoms for America's Children is modeled after President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech, in which he described his vision for a post-war world based on freedom of speech and expression, freedom of every person to worship God in his or her own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear.