Congress

Democrats' $3.5 Trillion Budget Plan Includes Major Help for Families With Kids

Paul Bersebach | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

Families with children may more relief to look forward to in the coming years, thanks to the Democrats' $3.5 trillion budget plan.

House Democrats passed the budget resolution on Tuesday, meaning that the party can begin to write the details of the plan. They hope to pass it via reconciliation, a process that would mean they can push the budget through without any Republican votes.

The outline that lawmakers are beginning with would invest trillions of dollars to boost the social safety net for families through programs and services such as an expanded child tax credit, childcare benefits for working parents, free pre-K and more.

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Investments in working families, the elderly and the environment would total about $1.8 trillion, according to an early fact sheet about the proposal.

"I always had confidence; I never doubted that the president's budget would prevail because of the commitment our caucus has to America's working families," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a press event Wednesday.

Here is what is expected in the plan for children and their families.

Tax breaks and more

The plan would likely continue several tax credits that benefit low- and middle-income families, and especially those with children.

It would extend the child tax credit, earned income tax credit, child and dependent care tax credit, and paid family and medical leave, according to a fact sheet outlining the budget resolution.  

The American Rescue Plan in March enhanced the child tax credit, boosting the benefit to $3,000 from $2,000 for children 17 and younger and giving an additional $600 for kids under the age of 6. Half of the credit started going out to families in July as monthly payments.

This credit alone will help some 65 million children across the U.S., roughly 90% of kids in the country, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. It will also lift some 4.1 million children out of poverty, slashing the overall poverty rate by about 40%. Continuing the credit — which so far is only for the 2021 tax year — will mean these benefits continue.

Children and their families would also potentially be helped by planned investments in childcare and education baked into the proposal. Senate Democrats would like to extend universal pre-K to 3- and 4-year-old children and expand childcare benefits for working families.

The plan would also make community college tuition-free, give money to institutions serving minorities and increase the maximum Pell Grant award to help people attend and pay for higher education. Child nutrition programs would also get a boost.

What's next

The Senate passed the same budget plan earlier this month, and now lawmakers are working to write the legislation in detail.

That means that further information on the specifics of the budget, as well as potential changes to the outline and the total amount of money to be spent will come next.

Democratic leaders have set a Sept. 15 deadline for committees to write their sections of the bill, though debate in the party could extend beyond. Democrats plan to pass the budget through reconciliation, a process that doesn't require any Republican support if all 50 members in the Senate agree.

The House on Tuesday also advanced a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, and committed to voting on the legislation by Sept. 27.

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