President Joe Biden on Wednesday (28) announced a plan to expand Americans’ access to education and health, which aims to ensure at least four years of free education, two in preschool and two in the Higher Education.
The proposal, called the Plan for American Families, will cost $ 1.8 trillion over ten years. Of these, US $ 1 trillion will be spent on direct investment, and the rest will be in the form of tax cuts. The money for it would be obtained through tax increases and tax breaks for the rich and big business, which could hamper its approval by Congress.
Biden will officially announce the proposal on Wednesday, in a speech to Congress. The details have been anticipated by the White House. The main educational objective of the proposal is to universalize free access to preschool education for children aged three and four.
For young adults, the plan proposes to guarantee two years of free higher education at Community Colleges, colleges that typically offer two-year courses and have simpler admission processes than universities.
Biden is also proposing to increase the value of scholarships given to low-income college students through the Pell Grants program, which serves 5.5 million students, many of whom are black and of Latin descent. There are also resources to improve teacher training and attract more young people to this career.
In healthcare, Biden wants to expand access to paid plans and sick leave, including for cases of domestic violence or rape.
The Biden administration maintains that improving Americans’ access to education and health care is essential for the country to better rebuild after the pandemic. “President Biden knows that a strong middle class is America’s backbone. He knows it should be easier for families to enter and stay in the middle class,” the statement said. of the White House announcing the measures.
Some of the proposals have already been implemented on a temporary basis during the pandemic, and Biden wants to extend them or make them permanent. Below, more details on the measurements:
Universalize access to kindergarten
Biden wants to make sure all children between the ages of three and four attend preschool. The measure would benefit all income brackets.
The plan also calls for middle- and low-income families to spend a maximum of 7% of their income to pay for child care for their children up to the age of five. The measure would benefit those earning up to 1.5 times their state’s average salary.
It was also proposed to increase the wages of daycare and preschool staff to $ 15 an hour. The current average is $ 12.24 an hour.
Free college for 5 million students
Study of the first two years at community colleges would be free for students. The federal government would pay 75% of the cost of the courses and the states would supplement the rest. The measure would benefit 5.5 million students, if all states agreed to participate.
Increase scholarships for low-income university students
Biden plans to increase the value of scholarships for low-income students by $ 1,400. The Pell Grants program serves approximately 7 million students.
Hire more teachers and improve their training
The proposal plans to provide more scholarships to train new teachers and expand the qualification of teachers already working in schools. The program aims to pay particular attention to black and Latino professionals.
Expand access to health plans
The plan calls for maintaining the benefits granted during the pandemic, such as ensuring that families do not pay more than 8.5% of their income with health plans and providing subsidies so that the poorest have access to the plans and to treatments.
Extend paid sick leave
The government plans to subsidize medical leave for employees of private companies, which could also be used to treat newborns, seriously ill loved ones and recovering from cases of rape, domestic violence or death of a child. close.
Employees will be able to receive up to $ 4,000 per month while on leave, in order to replenish at least two-thirds of their regular salary. The program is expected to cost $ 225 billion over ten years.
Grant tax credits to families with children
Extend a program that grants tax credits to families with children for another four years. Under current rules, families with children under 6 receive an annual credit of $ 3,600 per child and $ 3,000 per child under 17. The amount can be used to deduct taxes. If even with the reduction there is a difference, the amount can be withdrawn in cash. Houses with an income of up to USD 150,000 per year benefit.
Grant a tax credit to adults in general
Citizens without children will also be able to benefit from tax credits according to their income. The minimum age for this will be lowered from 25 to 19 and there will be no more age to benefit from it.
Improve infant feeding
The plan is to make permanent a program that helps families with few resources buy food for their children, in addition to providing free or cheaper meals in schools.