Biden begins tortuous path to passing welfare plan
By Lucia Leal
Washington, Jul 7 (EFE).- United States president Joe Biden began his campaign on Wednesday to sell to Americans and Congress his $1.8 trillion social welfare plan, a package that faces strong resistance from the Republican opposition.
Biden visited one of the most conservative districts of the Democratic state of Illinois to promote the project with which he wants to reform the family care system in the US, including early childhood education and sick leave, with which he plans to finance with new tax hikes on high-income households.
“We’re going to reimagine what our economy and our future could be,” Biden said from the city of Crystal Lake.
At a time when the White House is negotiating against the clock with Congress to pass its jobs and infrastructure plan, Biden wanted attention on the second pillar of his economic strategy, the so-called American Families Plan.
The plan, valued at $1.8 trillion over 10 years, would bring the US closer to European standards for family care, but it is difficult for many to digest in a country where there is no paid maternity leave or sick leave to take care of a family member.
“(In) the most difficult moments some will ever face no one should have to choose between the job and a paycheck and taking care of someone you love,” Biden stressed.
Biden’s bill would allow all Americans to be guaranteed 12 weeks’ paid maternity and paternity leave, as well as sick leave and leave to take care of a family member after the first decade of investments under the plan.
In addition, Biden’s plan extends the free public education system by four years, which currently runs from the beginning of elementary school at age five to the end of high school at age 18.
The project would establish free education for three- and four-year-olds, and also would make two years of higher education free after secondary school.
“Any nation that out-educates us is going to out-compete us,” said Biden.
Democrats, who narrowly control both houses of Congress, want to pass the care reform with the help of a maneuver that would require little more than a simple majority in the Senate, to avoid having to rally support from the Republican opposition.
However, to achieve this, they cannot afford a single dissenter in their ranks, since Democrats control only half of the Senate seats and need the help of Vice President Kamala Harris to break any tie with the opposition.
That will involve juggling to convince the most conservative senator on the Democratic caucus, Joe Manchin, who has expressed doubts about Biden’s plan, and also to persuade progressives such as Bernie Sanders, who has opined that the project is not going far enough. EFE