Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday acknowledged that part of the purpose of the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which did not receive any Republican support, was to pass social policies to address problems like child care.
“This was the intentional purpose of the American rescue plan, which was to look at child care, to look at our child care workers, to look at our children, to bring them out of poverty,” Harris said in New Haven, Connecticut, on Friday. “And to do what has long been overlooked, which is to understand that our children – we cannot in public policy subordinate them, as you know, is because I guess they’re little people, little problems.”
Notably, the American Rescue Plan boosts the $2,000 Child Tax Credit by as much as $1,600 for parents of young children, and it also expands eligibility.
The Earned Income Tax Credit was also expanded.
Harris also said that items included in the bill intended to help households, including direct payments and an extension of unemployment benefits, indirectly help children in the context of supporting the family in which the child is being raised.
Republicans resisted the massive spending effort partially on the grounds that it was “not about the virus,” as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., put it during a press conference earlier this month. Instead, they said Democrats used their congressional majorities to push through their own spending agenda on the taxpayer’s dime.
“This is a waste of money, less than 9% is going to COVID. This is payoff to [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi’s political friends,” McCarthy said during an interview with Fox & Friends.
Sen. Bill Hagerty called the legislation a “Democrat wish list of socialist programs.”
As reported by The Washington Post earlier this month, Democrats were said to have mounted an “11th-hour push” in the final days before the relief legislation was passed to encourage President Biden to make combating child poverty a priority – resulting in the creation of what the publication described as a “sudden, unexpected” $120 billion social program.
Republicans have not specifically criticized the child care provisions in the law but instead have tended to attack what they view as superfluous spending.
The administration is reportedly planning two more spending initiatives – an investment in infrastructure, and a “people-focused” domestic policy push.
It is not clear how much the proposals would cost – a price tag of $3 trillion has been floated – but the White House has said it will raise taxes on the wealthiest households and corporations as a means to offset some of those expenses.