WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden unveiled the details of a $1.75 trillion social services package Thursday that he expects will have enough support from Democrats to pass through Congress.
The framework of the massive bill tackles several issues including investing in childcare, addressing climate change, expanding health care, strengthening the middle class, and tackling immigration issues.
Investing in children and caregiving
The White House promises that the bill includes the most transformative investment in children and caregiving in generations.
The Biden administration says the bill will provide universal and free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, the largest expansion of universal and free education since states and communities across the country established public high schools 100 years ago.
Officials claim the bill will make the largest investment in childcare in the nation’s history, saving most working American families more than half of their spending on childcare.
The White House says the bill will also deliver affordable, high-quality care for older Americans and people with disabilities in their homes, while supporting the workers who provide that care.
The bill will purportedly provide more than 35 million households up to $3,600 (or $300 per month) in tax cuts per child by extending the American Rescue Plan’s expanded Child Tax Credit.
Combating climate change
The White House claims the bill represents the largest effort to climate change in American history.
The Biden administration says the legislation will deliver consumer rebates and ensure middle-class families save money as they shift to clean energy and electrification.
The measure will also ensure clean energy technology will be built in the U.S. with American-made steel and other materials, according to the framework.
Officials say the bill will advance environmental justice through a new “clean energy and sustainability accelerator” that will invest in projects around the country.
Lastly, the bill will purportedly bolster resilience and natural solutions to climate change through a historic investment in coastal restoration, forest management, and soil conservation.
Expanding affordable health care
The Biden administration claims the bill marks the biggest expansion of affordable health care in a decade.
The White House says the measure will do this by strengthening the Affordable Care Act and reducing premiums for 9 million Americans.
The legislation will also close the Medicaid coverage gap, leading 4 million uninsured people to gain coverage, according to the administration.
Additionally, officials say it will expand Medicare to cover hearing benefits.
Effort to strengthen middle class
The White House says the legislation represents the most significant effort to bring down costs and strengthen the middle class in generations.
The administration claims the bill will make the single largest and most comprehensive investment in affordable housing in history.
The measure will extend the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for around 17 million low-wage workers, according to officials.
The bill will also expand access to affordable education beyond high school, promote nutrition security to support children’s health, and strengthen the middle class through investments in equity, safety, and fairness.
In addition to the bill’s other lofty goals, officials say the framework includes a $100 billion investment to reform our immigration system, as well as reduce backlogs, expand legal representation, and make the asylum system and border processing more efficient and humane.
How it would be paid for
The Biden administration claims the plan would be fully paid for by asking for the nation’s largest corporations and wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes, and by repealing the Trump Administration’s rebate rule.
“The framework will help reverse the windfall delivered to wealthy Americans and large corporations in the 2017 tax cut and invest the revenue in American families and workers,” wrote the administration. “No one making under $400,000 will pay a penny more in taxes.”
The White House provided the following breakdown of the bill’s funds:
Biden delivers remarks on bill
Biden met with Democratic lawmakers before returning to the White House to deliver remarks on the package Thursday.
“After months of tough and thoughtful negotiations, I think we have a historic – I know we have a historic framework," said Biden. "It’s a framework that will create millions of jobs, grow the economy, invest our nation and our people, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path not only to compete but to win the economic competition for the 21st century against China and every other major country in the world.”
Watch Biden deliver remarks on the spending package:
During his remarks, Biden outlines some of the key measures in the package, including how it could help middle-class Americans care for their children and parents.
“Today, there are nearly 2 million women in America not working today simply because they can’t afford childcare,” said Biden. “We’re going to make sure all families making less than $300,000 a year will pay no more than 7% of their income for childcare. And for a family making $100,000 a year, that will save them more than $5,000 on childcare.”
Biden said the plan would also extend child tax credits for another year.
“We’ve also extended the historic middle-class tax cut, that’s what I call it, a middle-class tax cut for parents," said Biden. "That is the expanded child tax credit we passed through the American Rescue Plan. What that means is, for folks at home, they’re getting $300 a month for every child under the age of 6, $250 for every child under the age of 18.”
The president also touched on how the plan seeks to address the climate crisis.
“This framework also makes the most significant investment to deal with the climate crisis ever, ever happened, beyond any other advanced nation in the world," he said. "Over a billion metric tons of emission reductions, at least 10 times bigger on climate than any bill that has ever passed before and enough to position us for 50-52% emission reductions by the year 2030. And we’ll do it in ways that grow the domestic industries, create good-paying union jobs, address longstanding environmental injustices as well."
He also addressed how the package will be paid for and added that over the next 10 years, the package will not add the deficit and may actually reduce it. Much of the money would come from raising taxes on wealthy Americans.
“I don’t want to punish anyone’s success, I’m a capitalist," said Biden. "I want everyone to be able to, if they want to be a millionaire or a billionaire, to be able to seek their goal. But I’ll I’m asking is: pay your fair share, pay your fair share, pay your fair share. And right now, many of them are paying virtually nothing.”
The president also reiterated that his plans will not raise any federal taxes for anyone making less than $400,000.
“For much too long. The working people of this nation, in the middle class of this country, have been delt out of the American deal. It’s time to deal them back in," he said.
For months, Biden has negotiated with Congress in the hopes of passing a landmark social services package that would increase the social safety net, increase childcare and eldercare options for working families, and offer incentives to power companies to fight climate change. However, objections by moderate Democrats have reduced Biden's bill to about half of its original size, according to The Associated Press.
Because Democrats only control the Senate by way of a tie-break vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden needs support from every Democratic senator. Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — both moderate Democrats — have sought to limit the size of the bill over concerns of increasing the national debt.
Working with Manchin has also necessitated the removal of many of the climate change aspects of the bill due to his ties to the coal industry in his home state of West Virginia.
News of Biden's Thursday remarks comes a day after reports emerged that a provision that would have provided paid family leave for new parents was scrapped from the bill over Manchin's objections.
Next, Biden will head to Rome, where he'll meet with Pope Francis before heading to a UN climate summit in Scotland on Sunday.