Biden Extends Key Parts of COVID-19 Relief Bill

"P20210210AS-1970" (United States government work) by The White House

On Wednesday, during his first joint address to Congress, Biden is expected to announce the American Families Plan, framing it as a complement to earlier massive investments during the COVID-19 era. However, critics will likely take the plan as an effort to extend major parts of the earlier relief packages.

According to the White House, the legislation is an effort to build on the $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan that was passed last March. Republicans however are against the plan and argued that only 9% of the funds went to actual COVID-19 relief. 

Meanwhile, former Trump economic adviser and FOX Business host, Larry Kudlow stated that the rumors of Biden’s tax plan bolstered the Democrats’ socialist wing of the party.

Kudlow said, “This is redistribution, assault on investment and it makes left-wing ideology – I will say [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] is correct: the progressive left won Biden’s heart, absolutely.”

However, the Biden administration insists that this new plan is urgently needed to give more Americans the chance to succeed, assist struggling families and provide the country a competitive edge in the future against rivals like China.

“President China Hadiri APEC 2013” (CC BY 2.0) APEC 2013

According to a senior administration official, the plan also calls for at least four years of free, public education for every child, and a universal “high-quality preschool” to all children between the ages of 3 and 4. Moreover, they also added that two years of free community college will be available to all Americans. 

The administration said, the universal pre-school will cost around $200 billion and the free community college will cost taxpayers around $109 billion. Dreamers will also qualify for free education at community colleges and have access to Pell Grants, which will also be increased by $1,400. 

Historically black colleges will also receive new funding. A renewed focus on teacher training in the U.S. will also be made. 

Biden administration also added that the focus of the American Jobs Plan is on the country’s physical infrastructure and the creation of millions of jobs. The American Families Plan will also invest in young Americans and help families cover basic expenses. 

The administration added that the plan will guarantee that qualifying families do not spend more than 7% of their income on child care, and will provide nutrition assistance to reduce childhood hunger. According to the administration, lack of child care costs the U.S. economy about $57 billion each year in earnings.

On the other hand, some of these families will benefit from additional tax cuts in the form of child tax credits, dependent care tax credits, and earned income tax credits. The credits are already found in the American Rescue Plan and would be expanded under the new bill. The legislation would also establish a national paid-leave program.

The administration also added that these credits have been proven effective in improving academic performance for students. 

On top of this, Biden is also expected to announce new measures to make sure that the richest Americans “pay the taxes that they owe while also ensuring that no one making less than $400,000 per year will see their taxes go up,” according to a Biden admin official.

It was also reported by the Associated Press that “the White House has portrayed its plan as a Robin Hood-style effort to tax the rich in order to spend on benefits for the middle class.”

The administration said the legislation could be paid in full within 15 years.