President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited eastern Virginia Monday for the “Getting America Back On Track” tour. The President stopped at Yorktown Elementary School in Newport News, and gave a pitch at Tidewater Community College for his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan (AFP). He said expanding education for every American is critical to keep the U.S. competitive internationally and called for tax increases on corporations and the wealthy to fund the plan.
“When America made 12 years of public education universal in America, in the early 1900s, it made us the best-educated nation in the world, and you saw the benefits that came from that,” Biden said. “12 years is no longer enough to compete with the world in the 21st century.”
Biden said his plan guarantees an additional four years of education including free preschool and free community college. He said the preschool would be high-quality education, not daycare, for three- and four-year-old children.
“Children of that age who go to school, they are far more likely to graduate from high school and continue their education beyond that,” he said.
He emphasized the First Lady’s support of the plan, joking that if he didn’t support pro-education policies she wouldn’t allow him to sleep in the President’s Bedroom. The First Lady is a community college educator.
“If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it from Jill a thousand times, ‘Joe, any country that out-educates us will out-compete us.’ And it’s a fact, and she will be deeply involved on leading this effort as well,” President Biden said.
He said the AFP would extend tax credits for low- and middle-income families from COVID-19 relief bills through 2025.
Biden sought to address two common concerns over major spending initiatives: fiscal conservatives dislike of deficit spending and of tax increases.
“Here’s what the American Family Plan doesn’t do,” he said. “It doesn’t add a single penny to our deficit. It’s paid for by making sure corporate America and the wealthiest one percent just pay their fair share.”
“We have out there this year, you have 50 corporations making $40 billion that didn’t pay a single penny in taxes, not a single penny,” he said. “I don’t want to punish anybody, but everybody should chip in, everybody should pay something along the road here.”
Biden called for a return to corporate tax levels from 2001. He said that by closing tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy, government can fund the AFP without raising taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year.
He asked, “Is it more important to keep these tax loopholes for millionaires, they’re good people, they’re not bad folks, or would we rather put $7,200 in the pockets of working moms and dads every year if they have two children?”
After Biden announced his American Families Plan last week, Republicans criticized Biden for his expansive, expensive plans.
Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA-01) said in a press release, “If we know one thing about how the Biden Administration operates, we know they latch onto a popular word, words such as ‘rescue’ or ‘infrastructure,’ and then use that word to push through unrelated spending. With only 9 percent of the American Rescue Plan having gone to actual COVID-19 relief and only 6 percent of President Biden’s proposed infrastructure package going to roads and bridges, one has to wonder how little of the American Families Plan will really go to American families.”
Congressman Morgan Griffith said in his own release, “To pay for this sea of spending, President Biden wants to raise taxes. He claims to target only the wealthy and corporations, but his proposed tax increases will inevitably be passed onto middle- and lower-income families and individuals.”
“Trickle-down economics has never worked. For too long we’ve had an economy that gives every break in the world to folks who need it the least,” Biden said in his speech. “We can choose an economy that rewards work not just wealth.”
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