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Tag: child tax credit

Biden 'Framework' Details Historic Investments In Climate, Child Care And Much More

President Joe Biden announced a new framework for his Build Back Better jobs plan on Thursday. Though the $1.75 trillion package is not as large as he originally envisioned, it would still include historic investments to address climate change and caregiving infrastructure.

The largest item in the package would be $555 billion for clean energy and fighting climate change. The administration called it "the largest effort to combat climate change in American history" and "the largest single investment in our clean energy economy in history, across buildings, transportation, industry, electricity, agriculture, and climate-smart practices across lands and waters."

This comes after an August report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group dedicated to climate change science, which delivered a "code red" warning, stating that scientists have reached the conclusion that humans are driving global warming and that without immediate action, it will have "profound consequences for the world's social, economic and natural systems.

"With the $555 billion investment, the White House says the United States would be on track for its goal of a 50 percent --52 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The funds would be an addition to the investment in clean energy grid and electric vehicle infrastructure contained in the bipartisan $550 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which previously passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House. Climate advocates say that too will provide "really great first steps" and some "really great second steps" on the issue.

The revised $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plan also includes a $400 billion investment in affordable child care and two years of free pre-K education. According to the White House, this will "save most American families more than half of their spending on child care" and will "increase the likelihood that parents, especially mothers, are employed or enrolled in education and training beyond high school."

It would make permanent the expanded child tax credit for more than 35 million families. That credit of up to $300 a month per kid — enacted for 2021 as part of Biden's American Rescue Plan — has already lifted an estimated 3 million children out of poverty.

Other items included in the framework include $150 billion to increase affordable housing, $150 billion for home care, $130 billion to cover millions more uninsured Americans under the Affordable Care Act, and $35 billion to add hearing benefits to Medicare. It also includes immigration reform provisions, assuming they survive the Senate's arcane budget reconciliation rules.

Democrats say the plan will be fully paid for by establishing 15 percent minimum taxes for large corporations, a tax increase on the wealthiest 0.02 percent of Americans, a crackdown on rich tax evaders and loopholes used by millionaires to avoid taxes, and a few other offsets. It would not increase taxes on anyone earning under $400,000.

With Republicans in both chambers firmly opposed to Biden's popular original $3.5 trillion package and a handful of conservative Democrats unwilling to accept that price tag, the White House and the rest of the congressional Democrats were forced to scale back some priorities. Proposals to invest billions more in free community college and paid family and medical leave — and to reduce the costs of prescription drugs through price negotiations — will not be part of this package.

Despite claims that the plan will "add trillions of dollars to the debt," the new version will likely reduce the annual budget deficit. The White House estimates that the offsets could bring in nearly $2 trillion, potentially bringing down the deficit by $145 billion to $245 billion.

Because the package would be considered under budget reconciliation rules, which are not subject to a filibuster, Democrats can enact this framework without any Republican support.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the new climate investments add to the $550 billion for clean energy and electric vehicles in the separate infrastructure package. It has been corrected to note that the $550 billion is the full total of the entire infrastructure package, not the clean energy and electric vehicle funding.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Big Media Failure: Voters Have Little Idea What’s In ‘Build Back Better’

Reprinted with permission from PressRun

Leaning into the doomsday narrative that President Joe Biden's agenda and presidency is slipping away as Democrats work to pass both a huge infrastructure bill and even bigger social spending bill, dubbed Build Back Better, the Beltway press continues to do a great job ignoring the contents of the historic effort.
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That New Child Tax Credit Is Good For Our Kids — And Everyone Else

The United States is one of the richest societies on earth — but one with more than its share of poverty. While American capitalism has done wonders to raise living standards for the great majority of people, it has left millions out of this prosperity.

Whether our failure deserves sustained national attention is at the heart of the current debate over social insurance policy. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) drew cheers from conservatives when he declared, "I don't believe that we should turn our society into an entitlement society."

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Biden Plan Is About To Boost Jobless Workers And Families With Kids

Republican governors across the country have cut off federal unemployment benefits for millions of people, but Democratic policies are still kicking in to help people struggling in the uneven recovery from the COVID-19 economy. Two parts of the American Rescue Plan going into effect in July provide direct aid to unemployed people and to families with kids.

In just one of the American Rescue Plan's improvements to the Affordable Care Act, on July 1, unemployed people became eligible for additional Affordable Care Act subsidies. "An average of three out of five eligible uninsured Americans can access $0 plans after subsidies are factored in, and an average of four out of five current consumers will be able to select a policy for $10 or less per month, according to the Department of Health and Human Services," CNN reports.

And on July 15, expanded, monthly child tax credit payments start going out to millions of families. The overall child tax credit increased from $2,000 to $3,000, plus an additional $600 for children under six, and because it will be paid monthly, families can factor it into their regular spending, covering things like back-to-school clothes and supplies, paying monthly bills, or paying off debts. According to one recent survey, though, more than 55 percent of people receiving the credit plan to save it—a move that can cushion families against future instability due to job loss, medical bills, or other unexpected expenses.

It's estimated that the expanded child tax credit will cut child poverty by 45 percent. Currently, the parents with the lowest incomes don't get all of the existing child tax credit—in fact, 10 percent of kids get nothing. That's not true of the new policy.

After getting monthly payments through the end of 2021, families will get an additional lump sum when they file their taxes in 2022. Families that saw an income increase in 2021 over the 2019 or 2020 tax returns used to calculate the tax credit may not get that lump sum if the IRS determines they weren't eligible for the full credit in 2021; a few families with large income jumps may have to repay some of what they got in monthly payments. You can check out this calculator to find out if you're eligible for monthly payments, and how much. Families that don't want monthly payments can opt out. Unfortunately, the process will be much more complicated for families that don't file taxes, since the new IRS tool for them to sign up is generally seen as a user-unfriendly mess. Nonetheless, the money is out there, and parents and guardians of children 17 and younger should make sure to get it.

The combined impact of these two policies is that a jobless parent of two children whose $300 a week federal unemployment supplement has just been cut by their Republican governor could now be getting free health care and $500 to $600 a month in child tax credit checks. These American Rescue Plan provisions are a step toward what the U.S. safety net should look like all the time, not just during a massive global pandemic.