Biden Unveils Historic Plan for Families and Children

In his first address before a joint session of Congress Wednesday, President Joe Biden called on lawmakers to pass a sweeping legislative package to help American families and their children. The $1.8 trillion American Families Plan would dramatically expand education and childcare, with $1 trillion in investments and another $800 billion in tax cuts for families. It would be paid for by raising the top income tax rate to 39.6%, ending capital income tax breaks, and increasing IRS enforcement.

Below are some of the key components of Biden’s plan. Read the White House fact sheet here

Early Childhood

  • $200 billion for universal preschool (ages 3 and 4)
  • Creation of a national family and medical leave program

Teacher Support

  • $9 billion to train and diversify teachers and address the educator shortage
  • Doubling of scholarships for future teachers from $4,000 to $8,000 per year while earning their degree and extend the program to early childhood educators
  • $900 million for the development of special education teachers
  • $1.6 billion to help educators obtain additional certifications in high-demand specialties

Postsecondary Education

  • $109 billion for two years of free community college for all Americans, including DREAMers
  • Over $80 billion to increase Pell Grants
  • $62 billion toward strengthening community college completion and retention rates
  • $46 billion investment, including two years of subsidized tuition, for Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, and minority serving institutions

Tax Credits and Direct Assistance for Families

  • Extension of the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, as well as the health insurance tax credits in the American Rescue Plan
  • Ensuring low and middle-income families spend no more than 7% of income on high-quality child care via $225 in child care subsidies
  • Extension of expanded Affordable Care Act premium tax credits included in the American Rescue Plan

School Nutrition

  • More than $25 billion to make the Summer Pandemic-EBT plan permanent and available to all 29 million children who receive free and reduced-price meals
  • $17 billion to expand free meals for children in the highest poverty districts

The package includes all sorts of other important pieces, including unemployment insurance reform.

“It’s absolutely a thrilling development,” Mary Ignatius, statewide organizer of Parent Voices, told EdSource. “The last time a president considered this level of national investment was 50 years ago, but Nixon vetoed the Comprehensive Child Development bill of 1972. Before that, it was President Truman with the Lanham Act of 1946 that supported mothers to help with the war effort. That was 75 years ago.”

“After all the hard work since then to convince decision-makers about the critical importance of child care, brain development, the economic engine that it creates, the ability for mothers to work and build a career, it finally feels like we’re on the precipice of our own moment,” she added.

Chrisanne Gayl, chief strategy and policy officer at Trust for Learning, called it “a long overdue investment.”

The American Families Plan comes less than two months after Congress passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which offers $168 billion for America’s K-12 schools and colleges.


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