Education, Clean Energy, Housing Make the Cut in Biden Framework
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden is attempting to rally fractious Democrats around a whittled-down economic package that his administration is promoting as a monumental achievement for social spending and climate programs.
The $1.75 trillion package, which the White House on Thursday called “historic,” is half the size of a budget outline passed by the House and Senate in September in response to demands by moderates to reduce the price tag. Programs such as paid family leave and tuition-free community college didn’t make the cut, but the White House spent Thursday morning touting what the package funds.
“It’s twice as big, in real dollars, as the New Deal was,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted as Biden traveled to Capitol Hill to sell Democrats on the package.
Here are some of the climate and social programs in Biden’s framework:
Biden’s economic plan would spend $400 billion on early childhood programs, including limiting child care costs to no more than 7% of income for middle-class families, defined as up to 250% of state median income. Both parents must be working, seeking work, in training or taking care of a serious health issue to participate in the program, which is funded for six years.
The plan would also create universal pre-K for three- and four-year-olds, expanding access to more than 6 million children.
Child Tax Credit
The framework would extend the popular child tax credit for another year for households earning up to $150,000 annually, according to a White House summary. The plan would provide monthly payments to nearly 35 million American households and 90 percent of American children for 2022, the White House estimates
The current expanded tax credit begins to phase out for married couples earning $150,000 but provides a smaller credit to families earning as much as $400,000 annually. It’s unclear whether the expansion for 2022 includes the same phase out.
The framework includes $320 billion to expand for 10 years tax credits for utility-scale and residential clean energy, transmission and storage, clean passenger and commercial vehicles, and clean energy manufacturing.
It also would provide $105 billion in investments and incentives to address extreme weather, legacy pollution in communities and a Civilian Climate Corps, as well as $110 billion for investments and incentives for clean energy technology, manufacturing and supply chains.
The framework would extend expanded Affordable Care Act premium tax credits through 2025. It would also make Affordable Care Act premium tax credits available through 2025 to 4 million uninsured people in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid coverage.
It also expands Medicare to include a hearing aid benefit. Progressives pushed for a Medicare expansion to include dental and vision benefits but that fell by the wayside during negotiations with moderates.
The framework also sets aside $150 billion for home care for the elderly and people with disabilities, expanding on an existing Medicaid program.
The framework calls for spending $150 billion on affordable housing with the goal of building more than 1 million on new affordable rental and single-family homes, rental and down payment assistance, and public housing.
The plan would put $40 billion into higher education and workforce training programs. Money would be used to raise the maximum Pell grant and invest in workforce development, including community college programs. The framework would also support Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other higher-education programs that serve minorities.
To meet the spending limits demanded by moderate Democrats, several significant priorities were jettisoned.
- Free community college, a key component of Biden’s original proposal
- A national program to provide as much as 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave
- Expansion of Medicare to include vision and dental coverage
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