Most voters support Biden’s American Families Plan, poll finds

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress as Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) look on in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol.
President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress as Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) look on in the House chamber of the Capitol.

  • A Morning Consult/Politico poll found 58% of voters support Biden’s American Families Plan.
  • Individual provisions within the plan, such as universal pre-K, are even more popular.
  • Republican lawmakers oppose the scope and price of the plan, calling it a “$4.1 trillion grab bag.”
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While Republican lawmakers have strongly opposed President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan, citing concerns with its $1.8 trillion price tag and corporate tax hikes, a new poll found the majority of voters, including Republicans, support it.

A Morning Consult/Politico poll released on Wednesday found that 58% of all voters support the president’s plan, with 86% of Democrats, 54% of Independents, and 25% of Republicans backing it. Meanwhile, individual provisions within the plan were found to have more support than the overall package, with 64% of voters supporting ensuring low- and middle-class families pay no more than 7% of their income on childcare.

“The poll, conducted in the days after Biden’s address to Congress unveiling the plan, shows that most of the individual provisions in the package are more popular among voters than the plan overall – something to keep in mind as Biden reportedly considers splitting his proposal into multiple parts to reach a bipartisan compromise,” the poll said.

Here are other main findings from the poll:

  • 63% of voters support universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds;
  • 59% of voters support two years of free community college;
  • 59% of voters support a $15-per-hour minimum wage for childcare workers;
  • 57% of voters support extending the expanded child tax credit;
  • And 56% of voters support two years of subsidized tuition for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and minority serving institutions.

Biden has cited this kind of bipartisan voter support from polling in arguing for a new definition of bipartisanship that doesn’t necessarily include any Republican votes.

Before unveiling his plan, for instance, Biden said there’s no reason why infrastructure cannot be bipartisan, and The Washington Post reported in April that Biden’s definition of “bipartisanship” means support from Republican and Democratic voters – not necessarily Republican lawmaker. Indeed, while not a single Republican in Congress voted for Biden’s stimulus, several have touted elements of it. Even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy promoted a restaurant aid program from the stimulus.

Democratic lawmakers have advocated for the individual provisions, such as extending the expanded child tax credit from Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus. Many members of the party want it to be permanent, instead of the four-year extension Biden proposed.

When it comes to the price of the plan, although the majority of voters support the spending, Democrats and Republicans disagree the topic. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell drew a red line at $600 billion for infrastructure and jobs, which is less than a fifth of the $4 trillion in spending Biden proposed.

“I don’t think there will be any Republican support – none, zero – for the $4.1 trillion grab bag, which has infrastructure in it, but a whole lot of other stuff,” McConnell said.

McConnell’s remarks followed a group of GOP senators unveiling a $568 billion counter-proposal, largely focused on physical infrastructure, which Democrats called “a slap in the face” and “a joke.”

Separately, Penn Wharton Budget Model released an analysis on Wednesday that found Biden’s American Families Plan will actually cost $700 billion more than the White House’s initial $1.8 trillion estimate, while also noting that strengthened Internal Revenue Service enforcement will help raise $1.3 trillion in tax revenue over 10 years.

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Jill Biden will reportedly back debt-free community college as first lady

jill biden
Dr. Jill Biden.

  • Dr. Jill Biden, President-elect Joe Biden’s wife and the future first lady, will push for debt-free community college, according to a close source who spoke with Yahoo News.
  • “We have often talked about community colleges as the unsung heroes,” Martha Kanter, an under secretary of education during the administration of former President Barack Obama, told Yahoo News.
  • While serving as second lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017, Biden taught English at Northern Virginia Community College.
  • Biden plans to return to teaching as first lady, which would make her the only woman in the role’s 231-year history to have a full-time job while assuming the duties of the position, according to USA Today.
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Dr. Jill Biden, President-elect Joe Biden’s wife and the future first lady, will push for debt-free community college, a close source told Yahoo News.

Martha Kanter, an under secretary of education during the administration of former President Barack Obama, said that Biden’s lifelong commitment to education will extend to her role as first lady, with debt-free community college as a priority.

“That is what she would like to see,” Kanter told Yahoo News. “We have often talked about community colleges as the unsung heroes,” she said, adding that Biden has sought “to really help people understand the value proposition and the return on investment and why it’s important.”

Biden is also slated to advocate for the education issues that the president-elect championed during his campaign, according to the report. Those issues include doubling the number of psychologists, counselors, social workers, and other health workers in schools and improving teacher pay.

A longtime educator, Biden spent a large part of her professional career teaching at the community college level. While serving as second lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017, she was also an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College. Before that, she taught for 15 years at Delaware Technical Community College.

She plans to return to teaching as first lady, which would make her the only woman in the role’s 231-year history to have a full-time job while assuming the duties of the position, according to USA Today.

“Teaching has always been more than just a job to her – it’s who she is,” said Biden spokesperson Michael LaRosa to Yahoo News.

Biden, who earned two master’s degrees from West Chester University and Villanova University, respectively, in addition to a doctorate from the University of Delaware, has been a staunch supporter of community colleges.

During a 2015 speech at the National Legislative Summit, a leading community college advocacy event, she credited her grandmother with her love of education and detailed the rewards of helping students with their reading skills.

“Teaching is my life’s work,” Biden said at the time. “I teach because I love seeing the difference that I hope to make in my students’ lives. My goal is to always give them confidence in their own abilities, because I know confidence will carry them well beyond my classroom in whatever they do. As I work hard every day to inspire my students, it is ultimately they who inspire me.”

Kanter told Yahoo news that Biden’s classroom experience gives her a “critical voice” for upcoming education debates.

“She’s … knowledgeable about the challenges,” she said. “Why do students leave? Why do they drop out? What are the barriers that we better work much harder and to get out of the way? And I think that’s what she’s going to say.”

While Obama tried to enact legislation making two years of community college free, he faced GOP opposition in the Senate. While the president-elect will face similar headwinds, especially if Republicans retain control of the Senate after the January 2021 runoff elections in Georgia, the incoming first lady has “an informal but crucial role advising the president-elect,” according to a former staffer.

“She’s been a pretty great sounding board throughout his career,” the staffer said to Yahoo News. “She will have a very ambitious portfolio and I’m sure she’s particularly influential on the education front. She’s got decades of experience there.”

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