Tue. Dec 7th, 2021
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The sweeping $1.9 trillion bill would transform the nation’s social safety net despite being whittled down to roughly half its original size amid infighting between the party’s moderate and progressive wings.

It would create a universal pre-K program, assist families with child care and send them the enhanced child tax credit for another year. It would also provide beefed-up subsidies on the Affordable Care Act exchanges through 2025 and offer federal help to those who fall below the poverty line.

It would funnel nearly $570 billion into climate measures, attempt to address affordable housing shortfalls and provide money to parents to buy their kids food over the summer.

Once it gets through the House, the legislation would still have to be approved in the Senate, where Democrats can’t afford to lose a single vote in the reconciliation process.

Here’s more of what’s in the package and what it would do:

Universal pre-K: The bill would provide free pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds. It would expand access to 6 million children a year. Funding would last six years. The provision, along with the child care measure, would cost $390 billion, according to the White House’s latest estimate.

Child care: The legislation would limit child care costs for families with children younger than age 6 to no more than 7% of income for those earning up to 250% of state median income, expanding access to about 20 million children. Funding would last six years. This provision, along with universal pre-K, would cost $390 billion, according to the White House’s latest estimate.

Paid family and sick leave: Biden also wants to create a federally funded paid family and sick leave program for the millions of Americans who don’t already receive the benefit from their employer. He first called for 12 weeks of paid leave, which was then reduced to four weeks during negotiations. The latest House version of the bill includes four weeks of paid family and sick leave, costing an estimated $194 billion — but the provision is likely to be cut out of the legislation once it is taken up by the Senate. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is opposed to including the benefit in this bill and Democrats can’t afford to lose one vote.

Enhanced child tax credit: The beefed-up child tax credit — which provides $300 a month for each child under age 6 and $250 a month for each one ages 6 through 17 — would be extended through 2022 for more than 35 million families.

Heads of household earning up to $112,500 and joint filers making up to $150,000 annually would qualify for the enhanced payments. But, unlike in 2021, only these families would receive the funds in monthly installments next year. Eligible parents with higher incomes would have to claim the credit on their tax return the following year.

The credit would be made permanently refundable so the lowest income families would continue to qualify. The enhancement, which was part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Democrats enacted earlier this year, is currently only in place for 2021.

This credit, along with the earned income tax credit, would cost about $203 billion, according to the White House’s latest estimate.

The House bill unveiled in September would have extended the credit through 2025.

Earned income tax credit: The expanded earned income tax credit would be extended through 2022, helping 17 million low-wage childless workers. The boost, also part of the relief package, is only in place for this year. It nearly triples the maximum credit childless workers can receive, extends eligibility to more people, reduces the minimum age and eliminates the upper age limit. This credit, along with the enhanced child tax credit, would cost about $203 billion, according to the White House’s latest estimate.

The earlier House bill would have extended it permanently.

Home health care: The proposal calls for permanently improving Medicaid coverage for home care services for seniors and people with disabilities, with the goal of reducing the more than 800,000 people on state Medicaid waiting lists.

It also aims to improve the quality of caregiving jobs. The measure would cost $150 billion, according to the White House’s latest estimate.

Originally, Biden had hoped to shower $400 billion on this effort as part of his infrastructure package.

Read a full breakdown of the bill here.

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