HARTFORD – President Joe Biden visited the Capitol Child Development Center on Broad Street on Friday afternoon to tout his ‘Build Back Better’ plan, stressing the importance of providing quality and affordable child care, permanent child tax credit and offset costs by increasing taxes on the rich.
Biden used the state lawmakers’ child care center to say residents across the country are “in desperate need of such a facility.”
One way to do this, Biden said, would be to encourage companies to establish similar facilities by offering tax credits to those who provide on-site child care at workplaces, such as the one which he visited in Hartford.
In the United States, only about half of children aged 3 to 4 are enrolled in formal education programs, compared to about 90% in Germany, he said.
“We cannot afford to lag behind other countries,” Biden said.
Biden’s plan aims to ensure that families representing up to 150% of their state’s median income would pay less than 7% of their wages for childcare expenses. The proposal is part of a massive expansion of the social safety net that Biden has been pushing and, if approved, would likely pass with only Democratic votes in Congress.
While the United States “set the tone” for most of the 20th century with infrastructure by building the interstate highway system and winning the space race to the moon, investments have also been made. achieved in the population by initially offering free and universal education for grades 1 to 12. , and later adding kindergarten. He suggested it didn’t go far enough these days.
Today, Biden said, the United States ranks 13th in the world for infrastructure and 35th out of 37 major countries in terms of investments in early childhood education and care.
“The world is catching up with us and starting to overtake us,” he said. “Any country that educates us will surpass us. We cannot be competitive in the 21st century in this global economy if we do not invest.
Two bills debated in Congress contain an abundance of initiatives, he said, that would provide services to those in need, create millions of new jobs and be offset by increased taxes on the rich.
“I don’t think you shouldn’t be able to make a million or a billion dollars. I’m a capitalist, ”Biden said. “I don’t think we should punish anyone, just pay your fair share.”
While some Democrats wanted a $ 3.5 trillion package, Biden said on Friday he didn’t expect the plan to be that expensive.
Objections from centrist senses Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema force Democrats to reduce Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion package to more than $ 2,000 billion.
The fate of the legislation is also delaying a bipartisan infrastructure bill worth over $ 1,000 billion that cleared the Senate this summer. Progressives in the House are reluctant to support this bill until an agreement is found on the way forward for the social safety net.
“These bills, in my opinion, are literally about competitiveness versus appeasement, opportunities versus decadence, world leadership or continuing to let the world move by us,” Biden said Friday afternoon. “It’s about rebuilding the arteries of our economy. … We cannot afford to be left behind in other countries.
The Child Tax Credit, championed by U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, is making a significant difference in the lives of working families, Biden said.
“Money is already a game-changer for working families,” he said. “It’s a life changing.”
Along with affordable child care and the child tax credit, the plan also includes a universal preschool, as well as investments in clean energy, leading to even more jobs, he said. to the crowd gathered at the daycare.
“When I think of the climate, I think of jobs, of high-paying jobs, of unionized jobs,” Biden said.
As the proposed bills have turned into a largely partisan battle in Washington DC, Biden said a majority of residents outside the ring road support the massive plan and he is confident they will pass.
“I have no doubts that we will get there,” he said.
Biden was joined at the daycare by Governor Ned Lamont, the Congressional delegation from Connecticut, and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, who the president all commended for their leadership.
“Ned, you are one of the best governors in the United States of America,” Biden said of Lamont, adding that Connecticut was “ahead of the curve” in many ways because of the policies put in place. place at the state level.
Hours before Biden’s arrival in Hartford, a group of supporters and protesters gathered in front of the daycare the president was visiting.
Some protesters waved Trump flags, flags that read “(expletive) Biden” and shouted “traitor”.
After touring the daycare, Biden headed to the University of Connecticut at Storrs to attend the Dodd Center for Human Rights dedication at 4 p.m.
The Associated Press reports are included in this story.
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