Week Ending April 30, 2021

Transformative American Families Plan Released

  • White House Updates
    • President Biden Proposes Transformative Plan and Updates the Nation on Progress
    • Executive Order Establishes Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment
    • Show Your Support for the American Families Plan
    • The American Families Plan
      • Unemployment Insurance
      • Paid Leave
      • Education and Child Care
      • Nutrition
      • Tax and Revenue
      • Health Care
  • Congressional Updates
    • Infrastructure Update - New AFSCME Fact Sheet
    • Child Care Bills Introduced

Biden Delivers Transformative Address to Nation

Marking his first 100 days in office, President Joe Biden shared a transformative, policy-focused agenda with the nation during his first address to a joint session of Congress. He provided updates on the massive vaccine mobilization and the American Rescue Plan Act, which provides urgently needed state and local aid. The president reassured the nation that “America is back,” but much work remains, including swift passage of his proposed American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan.

Executive Order Establishes Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment

Biden continues to prove that he is a pro-union president. He issued an executive order to create the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. Chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris and co-chaired by Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, it will examine how the federal government can promote worker organizing and collective bargaining, including new laws and agency actions. AFSCME commends the president for his commitment to workers and providing them a voice on the job through collective bargaining.

Show Your Support for the American Families Plan

The American Families Plan will empower working people, create good union jobs and give everyone a chance to succeed. Help us raise awareness about this transformational plan by retweeting AFSCME’s support. 

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Biden Sends American Families Plan to Congress

The Biden administration released the second part of its Build Back Better economic recovery and infrastructure plan, the American Families Plan, designed to help restore jobs and rebuild the middle class. AFSCME President Lee Saunders praised the groundbreaking plan, saying, “With this new proposal, President Biden is reaffirming his commitment to a sweeping, transformational agenda that empowers working people, creates good union jobs and gives everyone a chance to succeed.” Some details include:

  • Unemployment Insurance (UI): The plan asks Congress to permanently reform the UI system with legislation to automatically adjust the length and amount of UI benefits based on changes in economic conditions to provide the safety net that workers deserve in the hardest of times.
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave: The plan provides $225 billion for a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program. Under the proposal, workers would receive 12 weeks of paid parental, family, personal illness and safe leave by year 10 and three days of bereavement starting in year one. Partial wage replacement is a minimum of two-thirds of a workers’ average weekly wage, rising to 80% for low-wage workers and capped at $4,000 per month. The plan also calls for passage of the Healthy Families Act (H.R. 2465, S. 1195) that would allow workers to accrue up to seven paid sick days.
  • Education, Child Care and Higher Education: The plan invests $731 billion in education, including capping child care costs for moderate and low-income families at no more than 7% of their income, and requiring a minimum pay of $15 per hour for providers or comparable wages and benefits to kindergarten teachers with similar training. It would fund universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds and provide two free years of community college in addition to other resources. AFSCME has supported larger investments in child care and free college for all and will work to expand these benefits.
  • Nutrition Assistance: The plan provides $45 billion for nutrition assistance, including $25 billion to expand the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and $17 billion to expand free school meal programs. It provides $1 billion to schools that expand healthy food offerings through a new demonstration project. It also makes formerly incarcerated individuals eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 
  • Tax and Revenue: Biden’s plan taxes wealth like work, requires the wealthy to pay their fair share, increases funding for IRS tax enforcement, requires stronger income reporting, and raises $1.5 trillion (over 10 years) in progressive tax revenues. It benefits middle-class and low-income working families by permanently making the Child Tax Credit (CTC) fully refundable and extending until 2025 temporary increases to the CTC. Biden also makes permanent the temporary increase to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and makes permanent the temporary increase to Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC).
  • Health Care: The plan continues the reductions in Affordable Care Act (ACA) premiums included in the American Rescue Plan and would help make medicines more affordable for everyone by enabling Medicare to negotiate lower prices. The plan does not provide details but proposes creating a public option for the ACA, closing the existing coverage gap for millions of Americans who live in states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage, and allowing seniors to enroll in Medicare at age 60.

Infrastructure Work in Progress

Biden renewed his call for Congress to pass his sweeping infrastructure vision proposed in both The American Jobs and Families Plans to provide once-in-a-generation investments to create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s physical infrastructure and workforce, and help families cover basic expenses that are foundational to thrive. AFSCME supports these plans and is urging Congress to champion the priorities outlined in this fact sheet.

Child Care Bills Introduced

Two bills that would ensure that every family has access to high-quality, affordable child care and early learning opportunities have been introduced. They are The Child Care for Working Families Act  (S. 1360, H.R. 2817) introduced by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee (HELP) Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act (S. 1398, H.R. 2886) introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y). AFSCME supports both bills. The Child Care for Working Families Act is included in the president’s American Families Plan.

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