Former Vice President Joe Biden proposed Tuesday to spend $775 billion over the next decade to expand and improve caregiving for children, the elderly and people with disabilities while creating 3 million new jobs as part of his economic recovery plans.
Biden’s goal as the presumptive Democratic nominee to challenge President Donald Trump is twofold: to take better care of caregivers, which in turn would free other members of families to enter or return to the workforce.
“This is about easing the squeeze on working families," Biden said at the Colonial Early Education Program at Colwyck Center in New Castle, Delaware. “We’re in a child care emergency. And it didn’t need to be this way."
Funding for the proposals would come from eliminating a Trump-supported tax cut for real estate investors who earn more than $400,000 a year and by better enforcement of existing tax laws against the wealthy.
Trump has warned voters against electing Biden and other Democrats who he said would approve "Massive Tax Hikes" that would kill the economy.
Hogan Gidley, a campaign spokesman, said Biden's trillions in proposed new taxes followed decades of past policies hurt American workers.
“It’s bad enough that for nearly five decades, Joe Biden’s liberal policies crushed the American worker, closed 60,000 manufacturing plants, and sent 3.2 million American jobs straight to China, now, he’s unapologetically promising something even worse by admitting he wants to remake America with socialist policies," Gidley said. "President Trump has always and will always put America First – which has resulted in historic economic growth and created countless new opportunities for families across this country to achieve the American Dream."
The same day as Biden's speech, the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living called on Congress to provide another $100 billion for caregivers during the coronavirus pandemic, with a "sizeable" portion going to nursing homes and assisted-living communities. Care facilities for the elderly have become hot spots for the virus throughout the pandemic.
The industry groups representing 14,000 facilities nationwide said nursing homes received only 4.3% of the $175 billion that Congress provided so far for health care providers. Assisted-living centers got nothing. But the facilities need help providing constant testing, personal protective equipment and staffing, according to the industry groups.
“With the recent major spikes of COVID cases in many states across the country, we are very concerned this trend will lead to a dramatic increase in cases in nursing homes and assisted living communities,” said Mark Parkinson, CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. “Without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. will end up repeating the same mistakes from several months ago.”
The caregiving proposals combine to become the third plank in Biden’s Build Back Better plan to restore millions of jobs lost during the coronavirus pandemic and grow the economy. His earlier proposals dealt with manufacturing for $700 billion and clean energy to combat climate change for $2 trillion.
Biden proposes to increase pay and training for caregivers, reduce turnover and recruit more workers to join and stay in the field. He would provide tax credits for businesses to build more child care and to improve homes for the elderly and disabled.
"This is a fresh, bold way to build a critical part of the labor force," said Biden, who was a single parent raising two sons for five years after the deaths of his first wife and daughter in a 1972 car accident. "These jobs can be filled now."
Biden proposed a refundable tax credit of $8,000 for families with a child under 13 – or $16,000 for families with more children.
Based on legislation from Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., Biden's plan proposes that no family with children under 5 and with income less than 1.5 times the state average would pay more than 7% of their income on child care. The federal and state governments would provide subsidies to those families on a sliding scale under the proposal.
Biden proposes universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-old children through tax credits and subsidies. And he would support construction of more child care through construction tax credits, which he estimated would create tens of thousands more facilities.
Spending on child care would create an estimated 1.5 million jobs, according to Biden's campaign.
Biden proposes to eliminate the wait list of 800,000 people for home and community services under Medicaid. States would receive enhanced federal matching funds. Biden also proposes to create jobs for 150,000 community health workers nationwide. He also proposes 12 weeks of paid family medical leave.
Spending on care for the elderly and disabled would create another 1.5 million jobs, according to the campaign. And by freeing up people who now care for children or parents with little or no compensation would allow another 2 million people to enter the workforce, the campaign says.
“This is a moral and economic imperative for the nation," Biden said. "This is about dignity and respect for working people."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joe Biden proposes $775B for caregivers of children, elderly, disabled