By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
President Joe Biden unveiled a massive $1.8 trillion federal investment plan that directly supports education, childcare, and paid family leave. The President’s first address to Congress on Wednesday, April 28, came one month after the administration proposed a nearly $2 trillion infrastructure plan geared toward helping America recover from the pandemic.
To raise the money for his latest proposal, President Biden plans to raise taxes on the wealthy.
“These are generational investments in our future, in the future of our families, and the future of our kids,” a senior administration official said during a call on Tuesday.
Dubbed “The American Family Plan” the proposal invests in children and families, helping families cover the expenses with which many currently struggle.
It aims to lower health insurance premiums, cut child poverty, and produce a more significant, more productive, and healthier workforce in the future.
The American Family Plan will add at least four years of free education for every student and make transformational investments from early childhood to higher education so that all children and young people can learn and grow and gain the skills they need, the senior administration official stated.
Specifically, the plan would provide high-quality universal preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds, two years of free community college to all Americans, and up to $1,400 in additional assistance to low-income students by expanding the maximum Pell Grant.
It will invest in making college more affordable for low-income students and students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other Minority-Serving Institutions.
Under the plan, those institutions would receive grants to create or expand educational programs in high-demand fields.
“The plan will also invest in our teachers, improving teacher training and support so that our schools become engines of growth at every level,” the administration said
“It will address teacher shortages, which have only gotten more critical in the context of the pandemic. It’ll improve teacher preparation and strengthen pipelines for teachers of color.”
The officials continued:
“It will help teachers earn credentials in high-demand areas like special ed, bilingual education, and certifications that improve teacher performance. And it will support programs that leverage teachers as leaders, such as high-quality mentorship programs for new teachers and teachers of color.”
Further, the plan will invest in the childcare workforce, funding childcare providers and their workers, ensuring a $15 minimum wage are in effect for early childhood staff, along with improved training.
The American Families Plan also tackles the nutritional needs of children by expanding the summer benefits to all eligible children nationwide.
That includes children who have free and reduced school lunches and breakfasts during the school year – and expanding that meal program to the summer on an ongoing basis.
According to the administration, this would reach an estimated 9.3 million children.
The plan would extend key tax cuts in the American Rescue Plan that benefit lower- and middle-income workers and families.
And these include extending the Affordable Care Act tax credits permanently to lower health insurance premiums and extend Child Tax Credit increases in the American Rescue Plan through 2025, making it fully refundable.