Build Back Better makes a “historical investment” to help parents

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Advocates say that in addition to tackling climate change and expanding medical insurance coverage, the “Rebuild Better Bill,” recently passed by the House of Representatives and currently being considered by the Democrats in the Senate, will also change the rules of the game for many parents.

Chris Cox, deputy director of federal tax policy at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, said the bill includes provisions ranging from paid leave to funding for universal preschool, which is particularly beneficial to low- and middle-income families. CBPP). But high-income families will also benefit from “historical investments,” she said.

“The entire bill will greatly reduce poverty, especially child poverty,” Cox said. For example, simply expanding the Child Tax Credit (CTC) can significantly reduce child poverty.

Build Back Better has not yet been voted by the Senate and may change before it is passed. But here are some of the provisions in the 1.75 trillion dollar version of the House of Representatives that can help families.

Enhancing children’s tax credits

The bill extends the enhanced CTC to 2022. This year’s credit has been increased to a value of up to US$3,000 per child between the ages of 6 and 17, and a value of up to US$3,600 per child under 6 years of age. Since July, families have also received half of the credit. BBB enables the extended amount to be paid monthly throughout the year.

BBB will also permanently refund the credit in full, so the family does not need any earned income to get the money.

According to CBPP, the one-year increase in credit is expected to reduce child poverty by more than 40% compared to the situation without expansion. This year, it reduced the number of households facing food insecurity and lifted millions out of poverty.

Although most Senate Democrats hope to pass the CTC clause as it is, DW.V. Senator Joe Manchin has proposed an increase in work requirements, which will reduce the number of families accepting the clause, especially low-income families.

Paid family leave and sick leave

Although President Joe Biden initially advocated 12 weeks of paid sick leave and home leave, the Democrats in the House of Representatives included 4 weeks in “Rebuild Better.”

Years of research have shown that paid leave is conducive to the growth and development of children, improves the health of pregnant women, and is also conducive to the stability of the family economy. However, the United States is one of the few countries in the world that does not provide paid vacation to its citizens.

“This is the United States catching up with the rest of the world in many ways,” Cox said.

In other words, Manchin opposes the inclusion of paid leave in the legislation, and the Democrats need all 50 senators to pass their agenda without Republican support.

Subsidized childcare services

Build Back Better includes funding part or all of the cost to help low-income and some middle-income families with children under 6 years old get affordable childcare services from licensed providers.

The subsidy is based on the state’s median income and family size, but by 2025, under the Act, most families will pay no more than 7% of their annual income for care.

The plan is not without criticism. Some people believe that it will push up the cost of care for middle- and high-income families who are not eligible for immediate subsidies (with a three-year transitional period). The bill also provides billions of dollars in funding to states to address the growing demand for childcare workers.

General Preschool

Build Back Better will also pay federal free universal preschool fees for all 3- and 4-year-old children. Democrats estimate that this will help approximately 6 million children.

Cox said that when families can rely on subsidized childcare and free school programs, their financial stability will increase. Parents can go to work without worrying about where their children will be. In turn, “over time, these can help increase the country’s productivity,” she said, because more and more parents are working.

Finally, Cox said that investing in affordable housing and narrowing the gap in Medicaid coverage (including in “Rebuilding Better”) will benefit families and people without children.

She said that compared with white families, black and Latino families are more likely to live in poverty and have no access to affordable childcare services, and they will benefit the most from “rebuilding better.”

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