President Joe Biden unveiled his sweeping $1.8 trillion “human infrastructure” plan during his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, an investment in domestic priorities including free community college, universal preschool and a comprehensive, nationwide paid leave program.
Building off of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the COVID-19 relief bill that marks Biden’s first major legislative achievement, the White House says “we need to do more” in the aftermath of the pandemic in order to “to build a stronger economy that does not leave anyone behind.”
Known as the American Families Plan, the Biden Administration proposes $1 trillion in investments and 800 billion in tax cuts for American Families and workers, while calling for tax reforms that ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes.
The White House calls the combination of the American Jobs Plan — Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal — and the American Families Plan, “once-in-a-generation investments in our nation’s future.”
On the education front, Biden’s plan calls for $200 billion toward free “universal, high quality preschool” for all three- and four-year-olds and $109 billion for two years of free community college, as well as billions in investments toward Pell Grants for low-income students, college retention and completion rates, and make an investment in HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs.
The plan also calls for $9 billion for American teachers, including training and support, boosting diversity and addressing shortages.
“These are generational investments in our future in the future of our families and the future of our kids,” a senior administration official said.
Biden’s proposal also calls for the creation of a nationwide, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, covering everything from caring for a new child, dealing with a loved one’s military deployment, finding safety from sexual assault or domestic violence, bereavement, healing from a serious illness, or caring for a loved one that is seriously ill.
The program would guarantee 12 weeks of paid leave by year 10 of the program, providing workers up to $4,000 per month, and cost $225 billion over the course of a decade.
“Studies have shown that, under state paid leave laws, new mothers are 18 percentage points more likely to be working a year after the birth of their child,” the White House said in a release. “In addition, paid leave can reduce racial disparities in wage loss between workers of color and white workers, improve child health and well-being, support employers by improving employee retention and reducing turnover costs, and increase women’s labor force participation.”
Citing a Bureau of Labor and Statistics study which says that more than 30 million workers, including 67% of low wage workers, do not have access to a paid sick day, Biden will ask for Congress to take action on a national paid sick leave to seek preventative care or take time to care for a sick loved one.
The program will also call for an investment of $45 billion to critical nutrition assistance in an attempt to reduce childhood hunger, including expanding school meal programs and launching a healthy foods incentive demonstration.
Biden will also call for an extension of the Child Tax Credit through 2025 and make the credit permanently refundable, as well as other tax cuts in the American Rescue Plan which benefit lower- and middle-income workers and families.
President Biden will call for tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans to largely pay for his proposal.
The president’s tax plan will reverse the 2017 Trump-era tax laws, as well as reform the tax code to make sure that wealthy Americans pay their fair share, while pledging to not raise taxes for any household making less than $400,000.
Biden’s plan — which includes an investment in the IRS to step up enforcement against high-income individuals, and a focus on large corporations, estates and wealthy individuals — would raise $700 billion over 10 years, according to the White House.
The plan would also call for a restoration of the top tax rate on the wealthiest Americans to 39.6%, a provision eliminated in the 2017 Trump tax plan, and end capitol income tax breaks and close loopholes for top earners.