Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wants the United States to commit $775 billion to expand access for and lower the cost of caregiving.
The proposal, which Biden is to lay out in a speech Tuesday afternoon, would emphasize tax credits and state funding subsidies to make child care more affordable and accessible and make prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds universal.
A Biden administration would also push to increase pay for child care providers through new state-level standards and federal minimum wage laws, and it also aims to speed the construction of new and upgraded child care facilities through tax breaks.
The plan comes as the country faces an unprecedented child care crisis: Schools and day care centers have been closed for months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many school districts plan to continue distance learning into the fall. And child care centers that have reopened are facing financial uncertainty, as well as the financial, logistical and emotional challenge of guarding caregivers and children against infection.
COVID-19 has ravaged nursing homes, as well.
“The pandemic has laid bare just how hard it is for people in this country to find access to quality caregiving they need for themselves, or to juggle the responsibilities of working and also caring for family members,” the Biden campaign said in a statement accompanying the rollout of the proposal. “People in nursing homes have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus, shining a bright light on the fact that many would prefer to be in a home or community-based setting. And, many parents are struggling to find child care while they go to their essential jobs, or find themselves as 24/7 caregivers trying to keep their children safe and learning while working remotely.”
Of its total 10-year cost, Biden’s plan would spend more than $400 billion on caregiving for older Americans. It would devote much of that funding to lowering Medicaid wait-list times for home and community care services, and . It would also provide tax breaks to people who care for older family members themselves.
A senior official on the Biden campaign says most of the cost for the plan would come from limiting tax loopholes and exemptions for real estate investors.
The caregiving proposal is the third major economic plan that the former vice president has rolled out in the past month. It follows a $2 trillion clean energy proposal, as well as policies aimed at expanding American manufacturing.
Last week, he also released a plan for reopening schools.
After months of mostly focusing on President Trump’s actions and statements, Biden’s campaign is now focusing more on highlighting its own proposals and possible presidential agenda.