President Joe Biden released details Wednesday of his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan — a sweeping legislative proposal for federal investments in families, children and education, to be funded largely by tax increases on the wealthy.
Details of the plan include universal prekindergarten, two years of tuition-free community college, an expanded family and medical leave program and monthly payments of at least $250 to low-income parents.
Biden will pitch the proposal Wednesday night during his first address to a joint session of Congress. The plan is part of the administration’s COVID-19-era economic recovery efforts.
Under the plan, about $225 billion would be spent on expanding access to child care, along with a $15 minimum wage for early childhood staff. The goal, the White House said, is to ensure that low- and middle-income families pay no more than 7% of their income on child care.
Biden also wants to spend $45 billion on meal programs for children and low-income families. That part of the package expands the number of schools in low-income areas that provide free and reduced price school lunches.
A senior administration official told reporters Tuesday night the proposed investments “will yield significant economic returns, boosting productivity and economic growth; producing a larger, more productive, and healthier workforce on a sustained basis.”
“This evidence is overwhelming — evidence that a dollar invested in high-quality early childhood programs results in more than $7 in benefits, including increased wages, improved health…” the official added. “It shows it keeps mothers in the workforce, increasing labor force participation, boosting economic growth.”