Biden to Present Radical “Family Plan” in Speech to Congress | News, Sports, Jobs
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden will use his first joint address to Congress to launch a $ 1.8 trillion investment in children, families and education that would fundamentally transform the roles government plays in American life .
Marking his first 100 days in office, Biden will make his case on Wednesday night before a pared-down rally of lawmakers wearing masks due to coronavirus restrictions. It will take place in a U.S. Capitol still surrounded by fences after insurgents in January to protest his election rushed to the doors of the House chamber where he will speak.
In the nationwide televised ritual of a president standing in front of Congress, Biden will present a sweeping proposal for a universal preschool, two years of free community college, $ 225 billion in child care, and monthly payments of at least $ 250 to parents. His ideas target the weaknesses that have been uncovered by the pandemic, and he will argue that economic growth would come better from taxing the rich to help the middle class and the poor.
For Biden, whose time has been nearly half a century in the making, his speech will also provide an update on the progress of tackling the COVID-19 crisis he was elected to tame, presenting hundreds of millions of vaccinations and relief checks issued to help offset the devastation caused by a virus that has killed more than 573,000 people in the United States. It will also back its $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, a staggering figure that will be funded by higher corporate taxes.
Seizing an opportunity born out of calamity, Biden took momentous action on progressive change. But he will be forced to thread the needle between Republicans who shout at government and some Democrats who fear they will not go far enough.
The Democratic President’s strategy is to avoid polarization and to appeal directly to voters. His prime-time speech will highlight a trio of central campaign promises: dealing with the deadly pandemic, lowering tension in Washington, and restoring confidence in government as an effective force for good.
“He is a democrat of great government, and he has not at all hesitated to propose big initiatives in response to a national crisis”, said Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University.
No American politician is more familiar with the presidential speech in Congress than Biden. He spent three decades in the public service as a senator and eight years as a vice president sitting behind President Barack Obama during the annual speech.
But this year’s scene at the front of the Chamber will have a historic feel: for the first time, a Vice President, Kamala Harris, will be seated behind the CEO. And she will be sitting next to another woman, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Biden chose to delay this speech, usually delivered following a presidential inauguration. In doing so, he gave himself the chance not only to talk about the pain of the COVID-19 crisis, but also to talk about progress.
The setting will be unlike any of its predecessors, with members of Congress dispersed and many Republicans citing “Planning conflicts” stay away.
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday: “President Biden has presented himself as moderate, but I find it hard to think of anything he has done so far that would indicate some degree of moderation.”
Yet the desire for swift action arises out of political necessity. Biden understands that the time needed to pass his agenda could be dangerously short given that presidents’ parties historically lose seats in Congress in the midterm elections, in less than two years. Democrats’ margins are already thin.
He will speak against the backdrop of the weakened but still deadly pandemic, staggering unemployment and a heated debate over police violence against black people. Biden will also use his speech to evoke the broader national race calculation in America and to call on Congress to act on prescription drug pricing, gun control, and modernizing the country’s immigration system.
The president had lunch with several network TV presenters and told them, according to attendees, that “They are going to write about this point in history.” He again spoke about the need to get the nation’s house in order to prove that a democracy can compete with autocracies like China.
The speech will deliver one of Biden’s largest audiences in power, even as TV ratings for other annual events – like Sunday’s Oscars – have plummeted during the pandemic. President Donald Trump had 37.2 million viewers for his last State of the Union address last year, and 47.7 million for his first speech to Congress in 2017. President Barack Obama drew 52 , 4 million viewers for his first speech in 2009.
In his first three months in office, Biden signed a $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill – passed without a single GOP vote – and directed direct payments of $ 1,400 per person to over 160 million households. Hundreds of billions of dollars in aid will soon arrive for state and local governments, enough money for overall growth in the United States this year to eclipse 6% – a level not seen since 1984. administration bet that this will be enough to bring back the 8.4%. million jobs lost due to the pandemic next year.
Biden’s speech explains how to sustain those gains once the debt-financed push wears off. Federal Reserve estimates suggest the economy will fall to more modest growth of 1.8% after at least two years of robust gains, potentially leaving the Biden era with some happy memories but few lasting legacies.
New in his speech on Wednesday is a “families” plan that could solidify its legacy with $ 1.8 trillion in spending over 10 years.
A significant amount would ensure that eligible families receive at least $ 250 per month per child until 2025, extending the enhanced tax credit that was part of Biden’s COVID-19 assistance. There would be $ 200 billion for a free preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds. Another $ 225 billion would fund subsidized child care and invest in child care workers.
A national paid family and medical leave program would be launched at a cost of $ 225 billion. Another $ 200 billion would be used to permanently reduce health insurance premiums for people who receive coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
For $ 109 billion in federal money, people could attend community college for free for two years. There would be $ 85 billion for Pell Grants to help more people pay for higher education. Historically, black and tribal institutions would be entitled to $ 46 billion.
Funding all of this would be a series of tax increases on the rich that would bring in about $ 1.5 trillion over a decade.
Biden wants to strengthen IRS enforcement and demand disclosures by financial institutions, specifically targeting the wealthy. The White House estimates that this would bring in 700 billion dollars over 10 years. It would lower the top tax rate for wealthier families from 37% to 39.6%. People earning over a million dollars a year would see their rate on capital gains – the profits from the sale of a stock or house – almost double from 20% to 39.6%, which would mean that the richest Americans could no longer pay less. rate that many families who identify as belonging to the middle class.
Republican congressional lawmakers have so far hesitated at the cost of both “families” plan and infrastructure, making it difficult to pass through a deeply divided Washington.
The president drew a firm line that no household earning less than $ 400,000 a year will pay more taxes, a line that would both broaden the definition of middle class and clearly define just how extreme inequality has become. .