President Joe Biden gave his first address to Congress on Wednesday, during which he announced his $1.8 trillion dollar American Families Plan.
The plan — a huge expansion of federal support for education, child care and paid family leave – will be very difficult to pass. It would take the approval of all 50 Democratic senators to pass even some of the American Families Plan.
Liberals believe the plan is not enough, while centrist Democrats are wary of its hefty price tag. For Republicans, the plan is a non-starter.
But the plan would provide immense support to low- and middle-income families, and even includes direct investments into education for people of color.
One of Biden’s largest pledges is to provide Americans with access to at least four years of free public education, including two years of free community college.
This includes a $46 billion investment in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).
Under the American Families Plan, students at those institutions would have access to two years of subsidized tuition and expanded programs in high demand fields like law, medicine, and STEM.
For teachers of color, $400 million would go to teacher preparation at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, and $2.8 billion would go to Grow Your Own programs and paid, year-long teacher residency programs likely to enroll teacher candidates of color.
Additionally, the plan would give Americans guaranteed access to two years of free community college, along with an over $80 billion investment in Pell Grants to make higher education more affordable for low-income students.
The plan also includes a $62 billion investment into improving overall quality of education at community colleges — where many students come from low-income communities and communities of color.
For families with young children, parents will have access to universal preschool for three and four-year-olds, making childcare more accessible to low-income working-class families by lifting expenses that would otherwise be paid towards non-educational daycare services.
Americans will also have to up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave guaranteed during events like the birth of a child, caring for sick loved ones, and finding safety from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence.
Biden’s plan also includes investments into public nutrition programs, unemployment insurance reform, and tax reform.