These Are President-Elect Joe Biden's Policy Plans for Issues That Matter Most to Parents
Here's where President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stand on health care, child care, family leave, education, cost of college, disability programs, and gun control.
After a long and contentious election season, former vice president Joe Biden and California senator Kamala Harris will be the next president and vice president of the United States. They will be entering office in January—nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted long-simmering problems lurking beneath the surface of American society. Half of working Americans say a major medical event could bankrupt them, much less a medical emergency such as serious side effects from the coronavirus. The majority of children who die from the virus are children of color, highlighting dangerous racial inequities in the country. More than half of American families spend at least $10,000 every year on child care and many can't even find affordable options during the pandemic.
"We are trapped in a caregiving crisis within an economic crisis within a public health crisis," Biden said in a campaign speech over the summer. "We have to ease the financial burden of care that families are carrying."
As the next president, Biden will determine how the U.S. addresses these concurrent emergencies—so we broke down what the Biden/Harris administration plans to do about pressing parenting issues: coronavirus stimulus and recovery, health care, child care, family leave, education, cost of college, disability programs, and gun control.
Here are some plans from the campaign trail and Biden's proposed coronavirus stimulus package that could point towards policies for the next four years.
Biden plans to send out additional coronavirus stimulus payments of $1,400. But there are more structural changes inside the covid relief bill as well.
Plans include child tax credits for parents (up to $4,000 for one child, and $8,000 for two or more children) and up to 14 weeks paid leave for caregivers. Biden also plans to temporarily raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which would benefit many frontline workers and their families.
Building off the existing ACA, Biden plans to give families more choice in their health insurance options. Parents can choose private insurance, insurance through their employer, or use a new public option that would function similar to Medicare. He would limit health care costs so that families would not have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income on health insurance. Biden also plans to give low-income families premium-free access to that public option, since not all states give families equal access to Medicare.
Biden also says he will ban health care providers from "surprise billing." His administration would also fund extended health care programming, including special focuses on mental health, maternity mortality, and opioid addiction, by raising taxes on all Americans who make more than $1 million a year.
Allocating $775 billion to expanding access and lowering the cost of caregiving—both for children and sick or elderly family members—Biden wants to invest in workplace child care facilities and increase after school programming. He also plans to create universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds. Biden would implement tax credits to reimburse families who make less than $125,000 a year for up to 50 percent of their child care costs. Families who make more would receive a partial credit.
Biden also plans to support "informal" caregivers, AKA parents who are not getting paid for their caregiving, through a $5,000 tax credit.
The Biden administration plans ensure 12 weeks of paid family leave for all workers, whether parents want to use the leave for caring for a newborn, new adopted or foster child, or other family member who is ill.
A Biden administration would focus on ending the education gap between rich and poor school districts by tripling funding for schools serving a high number of low-income families. Biden says he plans to increase teacher diversity (as well as increase public teacher salaries), and to increase diversity in schools, closing funding gaps between primarily white school districts and districts with primarily students of color. Biden also aims to double the number of psychologists, guidance counselors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals in schools.
Cost of College
Under a Biden administration, two years of community college and many vocational programs would be free. For families making less than $125,000, tuition at public colleges and universities would also be free.
Biden's student loan repayment plan would require borrowers to pay 5 percent of their income toward their student loans, and for those who earn less than $25,000 per year, no payments would be required. After 20 years of repayment, the remainder of borrowers' loans would be forgiven.
Biden plans to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and says he will create a buy-back program to pay people for their weapons or help them register them (similar to how machine guns or silencers are registered). He also plans to begin universal background checks for any gun purchases and ban online sales of firearms, ammunition, kits, and gun parts.
Biden also plans to allocate $50 million for gun violence research and will also increase funding for mental health services. He also says that he will ban federal funding from going toward arming or training "educators to discharge firearms," according to his campaign website.
Biden plans to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and intends to work with the Department of Education to make sure public school teachers are trained to support students with disabilities. He will also allocate $100 billion to improve schools, including updating schools to make sure they are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (as well as increase ADA-compliant accessibility on public transportation and in public buildings).