During his first, unofficial “State of the Union” address on Wednesday night, President Joe Biden is expected to unveil a $1.8 trillion bill dubbed the American Families Plan. This is considered a companion bill to the American Jobs Plan, the $2.7 trillion “infrastructure” plan unveiled earlier this month and also expected to feature in Biden’s speech.
“The American Families Plan is an investment in our children and our families—helping families cover the basic expenses that so many struggle with now, lowering health insurance premiums, and continuing the American Rescue Plan’s historic reductions in child poverty,” the White House said in a statement.
According to the White House, the plan will address a number of key areas.
- Invest $200 billion to establish universal preschool for three-and-four-year-olds.
- Invest $109 billion for free community college for Americans and DREAMers.
- Invest $46 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal College and Universities (TCUs), and other minority-serving institutions.
- Invest $80 billion in Pell Grants, including upping award amounts by $1,400.
- Invest $9 billion to “train, equip, and diversify teachers.” Of that, $2.8 billion includes doubling scholarships for students in college to become a teacher. Scholarship amounts would raise from $4,000 to $8,000 per year. Another $1.6 billion of the funding will be utilized for teachers needing additional certificates in areas like special education.
- Invest $62 billion in grants for colleges and universities servicing low-income students.
- Ensure that families deemed “low” or “middle-income” spend no more than 7% on child care.
- Create a national paid family and medical leave program up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced.
- Invest $25 billion to expand EBT benefits in summer for all students.
- Invest $1 billion to build on the Obama administration’s nutrition standards in schools.
- Allow those who are formerly incarcerated to receive SNAP benefits if needed.
- Expand the Child Tax Credit “from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for six-years old and above, and $3,600 per child for children under six.”
- Creates the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which would allow families to receive up to half of their child care spending as a tax credit. The maximum allotment is $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children. Families making $125,000 or less will receive a 50% reimbursement. Those making between $125,000 and $400,000 will receive a partial credit.
- Make the Earned Income Tax Credit permanent.
- Extend health insurance tax credits.
- Increase taxes to 39.6% on families making more than $400,000.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated Biden’s American Rescue Plan would add $1.9 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. According to Just the News, the final version of both pieces of legislation “are estimated to cost about $4 trillion combined” as our national debt currently sits at $28 trillion.
President Biden is set to address Congress during his State of the Union Address at 9 p.m. ET.
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