On the eve of his 100th day in office, President Joe Biden used his first joint address to Congress last night to sell lawmakers on a $1.8 trillion American Families Plan that would significantly expand government spending on education and the social safety net.
The plan comes as Congress is still considering Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan and follows the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that already passed in Congress. To help pay for the massive, proposed spending, Biden proposes to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations along with funding the IRS to more aggressively audit their tax returns. Biden emphasized in his speech that his tax hike would not impact the vast majority of Americans.
“Let’s start with what I will not do: I will not impose any tax increase on people making less than $400,000,” Biden said. “We’re only going to affect three-tenths of 1 percent of all Americans by that action – three-tenths of 1 percent.”
The American Families Plan includes $1 trillion in new spending and $800 billion in tax credits, much of which would expand access to education and child care. The plan includes funding for universal pre-kindergarten, a federal paid leave program, free community college for all and investments to help close racial and gender opportunity gaps across the economy. The plan includes an extension of the expanded child tax credit through 2025. The expanded child tax credit, which offers families $3,600 per young child and $3,000 per older child, was first approved in the $1.9 trillion COVID relief law enacted earlier this year and is set to expire at the end of this year.
Congressional Democrats say most of Biden’s plan should qualify for budget reconciliation, the same process used to pass the $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus in March. Republicans rebutted Biden’s speech by accusing him of campaigning as a uniter but relying on only Democratic votes to advance a sweeping, expensive and liberal agenda.
“President Biden promised you a specific kind of leadership,” said Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). “He promised to unite a nation, to lower the temperature, to govern for all Americans, no matter how we voted. But three months in, the actions of the president and his party are pulling us further apart.”