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Biden’s Next Spending Package Would Transform the Lives of American Families

Paid family leave, an extension of the child tax credit, and universal pre-K are among the provisions in the American Families Act.

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The Biden administration’s next infrastructure package is coming into focus, and it looks like a doozy. The proposal will likely include around $1.8 trillion in new spending and tax credits, according to the Washington Post. The promised spending on childcare absent from Biden’s first infrastructure bill is there, but that’s not the only provision families will care about.

Here’s what families need to know about the American Families Plan, the second part of the Biden administration’s Build Back Better agenda that’s due to be released ahead of his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

What programs would the American Families Plan fund if passed?

The plan as it currently stands contains a ton of funding for programs parents of kids young and old care about. Included are $225 billion for childcare, $225 billion for paid family and medical leave, and $200 billion for federal universal pre-K.

Let’s pause here for a moment. The Biden administration wants to essentially add a guaranteed year of education for all American children, a move that would also save parents a year’s worth of daycare expenses. That’s a big deal!

Policy priorities whose funding amounts the Post were unable to obtain include $300 billion in education funding (including tuition-free community college, a long-standing priority of First Lady Jill Biden) and more money for nutritional assistance programs. While those numbers haven’t yet been confirmed, voters should still expect to see big investments in these areas.

Also in the current draft of the bill is $200 billion for Affordable Care Act subsidies that allow low-income Americans to buy insurance on the ACA marketplace.

What tax credits are in the American Families Plan?

The new and improved child tax credit—more generous, fully refundable, and paid partially in regular installments—would get an extension through 2025, four years longer than it currently has at a price tag of around $400 billion. The Post also reports that a “more robust tax credit for workers” is also in the current version of the plan.

That’s a good thing, but it falls short of the permanent extension that many Democratic lawmakers are calling for.

What probably won’t make it into the bill?

Missing at the moment is a measure that would force prescription drug companies to lower prices, one that in earlier drafts would’ve amounted to $500 billion in savings. There’s also no revamp of an unemployment system that pandemic exposed as wanting, a measure championed by Sens. Ron Wyden and Michael Bennet, and no extension of Medicare that Sen. Bernie Sanders has been calling for.

How will the American Families Plan be paid for?

Tax increases on businesses are funding the American Jobs Plan. The American Families Plan, on the other hand, will be paid for with tax increases on rich people and wealthy investors and increased enforcement of existing tax laws, which the IRS commissioner estimates costs the country a trillion dollars every year.