NACo Executive Summary: The American Families Plan
- Highlights for County Governments
- Legislative Outlook
- Child Care: $225 billion to increase the supply of high-quality, affordable child care. These funds would expand the existing federal child care subsidy program to a sliding scale ranging from no-cost to 7 percent of household income. They would also support quality improvement costs for child care providers and a $15 hourly minimum wage for child care workers along with other professional supports.
- Universal Preschool: $200 billion national partnership with states to offer free preschool to all three-and four-year olds, prioritizing high-need areas and providing a $15 hourly minimum wage for employees in participating programs.
- Permanent Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) expansion: Families earning less than $125,000 annually would receive a tax credit worth 50 percent of their spending on qualified child care for children under age 13, up to a total of $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children. Families with incomes between $125,000 and $400,000 would receive a partial credit no less generous than their current CDCTC refund.
- Access to Community College: $109 billion to support two years of free community college for first-time students and workers wanting to reskill. Should all states, tribes and territories participate, the plan would support some 5.5 million students in earning a degree without paying for tuition and fees.
- Pell Grants: $85 billion to increase the maximum Pell Grant award, which provides financial support to low-income college students, by approximately $1,400.
- College Retention Grants: $62 billion to boost completion and retention rates at schools that serve high numbers of low-income residents, through grant programs for schools that offer extra support like child care and mental health services. States, territories and Tribes would receive grants to provide funding for colleges that establish evidence-based retention and remediation programs.
- Summertime Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for children: $25 billion to provide SNAP benefits during the summer months to the 29 million participating in free/reduced price federal child nutrition programs.
- Increased access to no-cost school meals: $17 billion to expand free school meals for children in the highest poverty districts (those with at least 40 percent of students participating in SNAP) by reimbursing a higher percentage of meals at the free reimbursement rate. The plan would also facilitate a more generous meal reimbursement structure to ensure more school children have access to meals at no-cost, while streamlining enrollment processes to confer eligibility for free meals based on participation in the federal Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.
- SNAP benefits for formerly incarcerated individuals: Would allow individuals convicted of a drug-related felony to receive SNAP benefits (currently only allowed when states take the option to eliminate or modify this restriction).
- Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansion: The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 temporarily expands the CTC for the year 2021, increasing the credit size from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child aged 6-17 and $3,600 for children under age 6. Additionally, it makes the credit fully refundable in 2021, expanding eligibility to families who typically do not have sufficient income tax liability to receive the full credit. The AFP would extend the credit increase through 2025 and make it permanently refundable.
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) expansion: The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 temporarily expands the EITC for childless workers in 2021, roughly tripling the maximum benefit and expanding the age of eligibility. The AFP would make these changes permanent.
- National paid family and medical leave program: $225 billion for a program that will guarantee twelve weeks of paid parental, family, and personal illness/safe leave in ten years. The program would also immediately ensure workers get three days of bereavement leave per year. The program would offer workers between 67 and 80 percent average weekly wage replacement up to $4,000 monthly.