Here’s what President Biden’s American Families Plan means for you

The White House unveiled a $1.8 trillion federal plan that Biden says is an "investment in our kids."

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President Biden is calling for paid family leave, childcare subsidies, and free preschool and community college in his sweeping American Families Plan.

Biden is set to formally introduce the $1.8 trillion plan before a joint session of Congress tonight. The plan would be financed, at least in part, by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

The White House views the proposal as a necessary investment in our children and families. It would expand access to education and childcare, as well as offer paid family leave for American workers.

Here's what's in the American Families Plan:

The creation of a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program

$225 billion has been earmarked to create a national paid leave program. Workers would be eligible for partial assistance for up to three months to spend with a new child, recover from an illness, care for a loved one or handle a partner's military deployment. The program will provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages paid, rising to 80 percent for the lowest wage workers.

An investment in childcare programs

An additional $225 billion would go toward covering child care costs for low-income parents with children ages five or younger. The White House cited a study that says our economy loses $57 billion each year in earnings and productivity because of a lack of affordable child care options.

The plan would also set a $15 minimum wage for early childhood care providers and educators. More than nine in ten are women and more than four in ten are women of color.

The American Families Plan also calls for a sliding pay scale for childcare costs. Families with the greatest financial needs will be fully covered and families earning 1.5 times their state median will pay no more than seven percent of their income.

Universal preschool for all three- and four-year-olds

The proposal would offer free, high-quality preschool to all three- and four-year-olds in the country, regardless of family income. There are roughly five million children that would benefit, saving the average family $13,000.

Free community college and other postsecondary investments

The plan would also offer two years of free community college to all Americans, including DREAMers. It would increase the Pell Grant award, ensuring that low-income students can keep up with rising tuition costs.

Investments in teachers

The American Families Plan calls for $9 billion in investments in American teachers, including doubling scholarships for future teachers from $4,000 to $8,000 per year while earning their degree, strengthening the program and expanding it to early childhood educators. The plan also includes $400 million for teacher preparation at HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs and $900 million for the development of special education teachers.

Expanding free school meal programs

The plan would provide free and reduced lunches through the summer to all American students, regardless of family income. It would also expand the free meal programs in high-poverty areas.

Extending tax credits that benefit families

The plan calls for the extension of the Child Tax Credit increases in the American Rescue Plan through 2025. It would also make the Child Tax Credit permanently fully refundable and make the Earned Income Tax Credit Expansion for childless workers permanent.

Jamie Orsini is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, military spouse, and a mom to two busy toddlers. In her spare time, Jamie volunteers with the Solar System Ambassador program with NASA/JPL and reads anything she can get her hands on. She’s currently working on her first novel.

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