President Joe Biden will propose a sweeping $1.8 trillion plan Wednesday for national paid family leave, universal pre-kindergarten, free community college, and subsidized child care in what would be a dramatic federal expansion of the social safety net for both families and children. The proposal to Congress would be paid for through a crackdown on tax loopholes used by high-income tax-filers. It would also nearly double the capital gains tax from a 20% rate to 39.6% for households making more than $1 million, among other changes.
$225 billion each for national paid leave and child care programs
The plan includes $225 billion for a national paid family and medical leave program. It would offer workers partial employment assistance for three months to be with a new child, rehabilitate from an illness, care for a disabled loved one, deal with a partner’s military deployment, or address emergencies.
This plan includes up to $4,000 per month that will be available in paid leave for individuals who participate, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages and increasing to 80% for the lowest wage workers.
An additional $225 billion would go toward covering child care costs for low-income and middle-class parents with children five or younger and It comes as more women left the workforce last year to care for young children during the coronavirus pandemic.
The program would pay for all child care costs of the neediest families. Those who earn 1.5 times their state median income would pay no more than 7% of their income on child care also this plan would also set a $15 minimum wage for child care staff – nine out of 10 who are women and four out of 10 who are women of color.
Pre-K for all regardless of family incomes
The national pre-K expansion would benefit 5 million children and save the average family $13,000, the White House says. The plan calls for $109 billion to
make community college in the U.S free also this plan would extend the enhanced child tax credits that were passed in Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan through 2025. The plan falls short of the demands of many Democrats to make the credits permanent.
The plan leaves out Medicare expansion
White House officials said the president remains “fully committed” to negotiations to reduce prescription drug prices. Because the primary health care providers in the plan are $200 billion to make health care premium reductions permanent. It sets aside $85 billion for Pell grants and $46 billion for historically black colleges and universities. The latter includes at least two years of subsidized tuition for students enrolled in four-year HBCUs from families earning less than $125,000 a year.
Other spending includes $45 billion to extend free and reduced lunches through the summer for the 29 million low-income children enrolled in the federal program; $17 billion to expand free meals to children in high-poverty areas through the Community Eligibility Provision program, and $9 billion to train teachers, address teacher shortages and diversify the teaching workforce.
Legislative path for Biden’s families and jobs plans unclear
Biden’s plan likely faces strong resistance from Republicans, much like his American Jobs Plan, which they widely panned for broadening “infrastructure” to pay for programs like caregiving for the elderly and disabled, manufacturing, and addressing climate change.
Senate Republicans last week proposed a $568 billion counteroffer that’s just one-quarter the size of Biden’s package and would be limited to physical infrastructures such as repairs to roads and bridges and broadband expansion
The president wants to progress in Congress on the jobs bill by the end of May. Biden could seek passage of his family and jobs plan via budget reconciliation as The White House has not revealed its legislative track.