Senators weigh worth, insurance policies of Biden’s $1.eight trillion training and baby care proposal

West Virginia Senators are evaluating the price and guidelines of the American Families Plan introduced by President Joe Biden last week.

President Joe Biden

Biden presented the $ 1.8 trillion education and social security network plan in a joint address to Congress last week, saying, “We must invest in our families and children for a generation. “

The proposal also plans to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars to tackle child poverty and ensure affordable childcare across the country. It’s the latest in a number of key government proposals, including one to provide economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic and one to strengthen the country’s infrastructure while tackling climate change.

These proposals are likely to be hotly debated in Congress, particularly in the US Senate, which has a 50:50 split between Democrats and Republicans.

Organizations in West Virginia promoting activities to support families have welcomed the government’s latest plan. Senators Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va., expressed concern about the cumulative cost of the three main Biden proposals.

They said they are still scrutinizing the policy, with Capito sounding particularly open to paid family vacations. On other aspects of the proposal, both Manchin and Capito suggested that some programs already available in West Virginia may be duplicated.

Shelley Moore Capito

“There’s a discussion, but I don’t think you’ll just throw it in and say, ‘OK, we all believe this is true and we will all do it and it will cost trillions of dollars.’ I’m not sure we all think it’s true, ”Capito said in a phone call to reporters from West Virginia last week.

“We understand that we have holes in the care system throughout, but that’s too big a leap for me at the moment.”

The most important parts of the American Families Plan are:

  • $ 225 billion for better access to childcare and for families to pay only part of their income for childcare services on a tiered basis
  • $ 225 billion to establish a national comprehensive paid family and sick leave program
  • $ 200 billion for a free universal preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds offered through a national partnership with states
  • $ 200 billion to make the deployment of the $ 1.9 trillion stimulus plan to lower health insurance premiums permanent for those who buy their own coverage
  • $ 109 billion to ensure a two-year free community college for all students

Other aspects strengthen the Pell grants for students with lower incomes, offer grants to increase student retention rates, expand access to nutrition programs for low-income families, make the expansion of the tax credit for children permanent and make the tax credit for children without income permanent.

“I don’t think it’s all about price,” said Capito. “Surely our state of West Virginia has tried to solve some of these problems. You know we have the Pre-K program that the state created. We have also tried to find a way – and many other states have tried to find a way to help students pay that two-year tuition at community colleges. “

West Virginia’s Universal Pre-K program is available to all four-year-olds in the state, while the Biden plan is also available to three-year-olds. West Virginia helps people pay for community college through the West Virginia Invests program, which pays the remaining tuition fees of a two-year program for certain programs after other funding sources run out.

Capito said she needed to take a closer look at family paid vacation. She said she supports a Trump paid family vacation administration policy for federal employees: “If it’s good enough for federal employees, we should consider it a policy,” Capito said.

“Our families with young children are under enormous pressure to find out how to look after their children anyway. And if school is canceled, what are you going to do? If school is canceled what will you do?

“And even those early years of attachment when they were first born lead to a healthier workplace, a healthier work environment, in my opinion. In the end, I think it’s probably less costly because you may have less absenteeism and other things that come from people just throwing their hands up and saying, “I have no choice.”

Joe Manchin

Manchin, in his own discussion with West Virginia reporters, also questioned the cost and whether some programs that are already being tried by states require federal efforts.

“I think everything you mention will be necessary. Is it something the government should be doing? “Asked Manchin, also quoting West Virginia’s universal Pre-K program.” We are responsible for education in West Virginia. It is not the federal government’s responsibility to raise all of our children. “

However, he noted the need to strengthen the education system as a whole.

“If we cannot commit to education, I can assure you that we will get into great trouble. We won’t be the country we are today or the country we were in in the past, ”he said. “Education, make it affordable. Whether it’s free or not, make it affordable. It is currently not affordable for education or college degrees. “

Groups in support of activities that affect families in West Virginia have expressed support for the American Families Plan.

Jim McKay

Jim McKay, state director of Prevent Child Abuse WV, described the proposal as “a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of children and families in West Virginia.

“For example, we know that paid vacation work for families in West Virginia works because it ensures that no one has to choose between their paychecks and caring for their loved ones. Research shows that having access to paid vacation reduces parenting stress and decreases incidences of child abuse, ”McKay said.

He also pointed out a component of the plan that would ensure parents don’t have to spend more than 7 percent of their income on childcare. That would mean a West Virginia family making an average of $ 48,850 a year would cut their high-quality childcare expenses to a maximum of $ 285 a month.

“This would be a huge affordability improvement to ensure more children have access to quality childcare in West Virginia,” he said.

“At a time when there has been so much discussion about strengthening our country’s infrastructure, we are delighted that this bill is strengthening the most critical infrastructure in our community – our families.”

The government is proposing to fund the initiatives through tax hikes of $ 1.5 trillion, mostly for wealthier Americans and investors. The administration is proposing more aggressive enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service, as well as doubling the investment income tax rate for those who earn more than $ 1 million a year.

Kelly Allen

“We cannot afford not to invest in America’s work and family plans, particularly in West Virginia, where we have faced years of divestment in infrastructure and our families,” said Kelly Allen, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget & guidelines.

“The Biden administration has made a responsible proposal to pay for the American Family Plan by undoing the tax breaks in the Tax Cut and Employment Act of 2017. It asked those who are not only doing well, but whose considerable wealth has grown during the pandemic. Pay their fair share and make our system fairer by taxing unearned income in the same way as earned income. “

She said the recovery proposal would increase economic stability for hundreds of thousands of Western Virgins, invest in long-neglected programs and projects that families need, and ensure a fairer future.

“In addition, investing in infrastructure and supporting family work will grow our economies by putting more money in the pockets of the households that spend it and making it easier for families to work and raise families.”

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