American Families Plan: The Long-Overdue, Bold Plan Our Nation Needs

Washington, DC, April 28, 2021—The American Families Plan (AFP) released today by the Biden-Harris Administration reflects, after many decades, the full range of bold proposals needed to transform the economy so it truly works for children, young people, women, and families. Coupled with the American Jobs Plan announced earlier this month, the AFP would at last provide public investment in a secure, equitable future for the nation’s families and an economic recovery for everyone, addressing income inequality and systemic racism and targeting investments in good jobs, child care, paid leave, education and nutrition, as well as directly providing families with the cash they need to raise their children.

The plan’s investments aim to reverse decades of failed policies that resulted in deeply rooted racial inequities and to advance racial equity by centering women (particularly women of color), Black and brown workers, children, and young people. The plan reflects the central importance of caregiving to the nation’s families and to the economy, with a focus on good jobs for caregivers and support for families. And the AFP sharply reduces child poverty and addresses child hunger, investing in the nation’s future through its children and young people. 

“Taken together, the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a true economic recovery and a vibrant future for every child and young person,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). “These proposals are transformational, reversing head-on the devastating failures of our economy over decades. Past policy choices have often deliberately perpetuated racial injustice and systemic discrimination, including greatly elevated poverty rates for children and young adults of color, which harm their futures; inadequate investments in caregiving; and inequitable access to health, nutrition, good jobs, and education. And yet the Biden-Harris Administration’s plans are also common sense, centering caregiving and reflecting what families need to thrive.”

Building on the provisions in the recently enacted American Rescue Plan, which addressed the immediate devastation caused by the pandemic, the AFP takes the next step: a bold commitment to millions of families that the nation’s future must be far different from the pre-pandemic “normal,” which excluded far too many women, children, youth and families, people with low incomes, and communities of color. Break-through proposals of the AFP include:

  • The United States’ first-ever national paid family and medical leave program outside the pandemic health emergency, providing all workers with up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child, a family member, or their own health needs. Far too many workers today, especially workers of color and those earning low wages, are forced today to choose between caring for themselves or a loved one and losing wages or even their job. 
  • Game-changing investments in affordable quality child care and universal preschool, with good-paying jobs for child care and early education workers. This historic investment of more than $400 billion dramatically advances equity for families and early educators and supports parents—especially mothers—returning to the workforce.
  • Permanent extensions of key improvements made to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in the ARP to reduce child poverty and address economic stability of young people who have been left behind by the labor market even before the recession. CLASP also calls for making permanent the increased value of the CTC, which has been estimated to cut child poverty in half.
  • Investments to make college more affordable for students with low incomes, including two years of free college, expansion of Pell grants, and investments in historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, and minority-serving institutions. 
  • An expansion of school meals and other nutrition programs to address the crisis of childhood food insecurity

The Biden-Harris Administration proposes to pay for these crucial investments in families by making the wealthiest households pay their fair share in taxes, through targeted changes to the tax code and investments in ensuring that individuals and businesses with high incomes pay the taxes they owe under existing laws. This tax reform will leverage public investments to reduce poverty, promote economic opportunity for children and adults, and reduce the nation’s unacceptable income and wealth gaps. 

CLASP looks forward to working with Congress to move immediately in advancing the critical framework in the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan. Our nation is long overdue in enacting these transformative policies to address the needs of all families and build an economy that is more equitable for everyone. CLASP urges Congress to act swiftly and boldly, by passing a strong economic recovery package that reflects the tenets of the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan.