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Bria Manlove Reflects On the Effects of Economics On Politics

Blog post by summer intern Bria Manlove

When I entered my freshman year at Villanova University, I sought a major that would best prepare me with the skills I would need to excel in law school. Shortly after, I decided to major in political science and economics. Through my studies, I began to see very clearly the intersection of the two, and I came to understand the crucial role economics plays in politics.

While planning for this summer, I looked for an internship that would provide me with a real life application of this intersection. Luckily, I found Child Care Aware® of America which offered me the unique opportunity to explore not only child care policy, but also the way in which economic factors influence public policies. I began this summer familiarizing myself with Child Care Aware® of America’s current projects and with the current climate of health care and child care under a new administration. Shortly after, I began working primarily on the budget and taxation.

After the release of the President’s budget proposal, I began to see the economic effects that would result from policy decisions. I started to explore the budget and appropriation threats to children’s programs which largely included reductions to 302(a) allocations and reduced funding for discretionary programs. Throughout the summer, I was granted the opportunity to attend a series of Children’s Budget Coalition meetings, along with Head Start Coalition and Child Care Coalition meetings, which helped to strengthen my understanding of the importance of the budget and the goals set forth by the coalition.

The opportunity to sit in on hearings on Capitol Hill proved to be a truly incomparable experience for me. During my first visit to Capitol Hill, I attended the Rebuilding America’s Schools panel discussion that focused on the Rebuild America’s Schools Act (H.R. 2475) and called on Congress to invest in schools and education. Shortly after, I sat in as Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price testified on the FY 2018 proposed budget request. These visits opened my eyes to the many complexities of policymaking and I quickly became aware of the implications these new policies could potentially have on children and families.

Economics and politics are intrinsically related and this summer I learned that economic factors can often limit political decisions and public policy. However, I have also come to understand that policies can perpetuate economic conditions. Surely, a career in politics is not easy, but my internship this summer truly highlighted the significance of advocacy and specifically, the dedication needed to ensure that every family has access to a high quality, affordable child care system.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such passionate and devoted people who prove so committed to the fight for child care. My interest in law has always partially stemmed from my desire to help others and serve the community. My internship this summer at Child Care Aware® of America allowed me to begin that effort and encouraged me to continue to advocate for the same quality child care and education that has positioned me for this opportunity. As I return to school in just a few weeks, I bring with me a greater understanding of the importance of advocacy and a firm conviction that every individual should find a cause for which it is worth fighting.

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