What's actually in President Joe Biden's new $1.75 trillion framework.
President Joe Biden announced a $1.75 trillion framework agreement on Thursday morning for investments in climate change and caregiving infrastructure.
The plan would include $555 billion for clean energy and curbing climate change, $400 billion for affordable child care and free pre-K education, $150 billion for affordable housing, $150 billion for home care, $130 billion to provide health insurance coverage for millions of uninsured people, and $35 billion to provide a hearing benefit under Medicare.
It would also make the expanded child tax credit permanent for more than 35 million families with kids, continuing a 2021 program that has so far lifted millions of kids out of poverty.
The White House has claimed the framework will be fully funded, mostly through additional revenue from taxes on wealthy Americans and large corporations, and will not raise taxes on anyone earning under $400,000 annually.
GOP lawmakers, who had unanimously opposed Biden's original $3.5 trillion package, were quick to attack the plan, suggesting it was, among other things, a socialist effort to keep people out of the workforce that would increase the deficit dramatically.
Here are their most common claims so far.
Claim: It's a scheme to discourage people from working
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor Thursday to criticize the framework, attacking it as a "reckless taxing and spending spree designed to reduce employment and undermine work."
"They would shred a decades-old consensus about the importance of work," the Kentucky Republican claimed, suggesting the bill would "reinvent welfare."
The plan is in fact designed to create and support hundreds of thousands of clean energy and climate jobs over the next few decades. And by making child care more affordable, it could help millions of Americans who have not returned to work during the pandemic get back into the workforce.
The White house also claims the package will "save most American families more than half of their spending on child care" and will "increase the likelihood that parents, especially mothers, are employed or enrolled in education and training beyond high school."
Claim: It's an attack on lower- and middle-income families
Utah Sen. Mike Lee tweeted that the package was "yet another deal that will make life harder for poor and middle-class Americans."
Georgia Rep. Drew Ferguson called it a "multi-trillion tax-and-spend spree that hurts hardworking Americans and helps the elites."
By providing additional care benefits, a $300-per-child tax credit each month, and a livable environment — without raising their taxes — the plan would more likely help low- and middle-income earners. Similarly, cracking down on wealthy tax evaders and increasing taxes for the wealthiest 0.02% of Americans would ensure those individuals and households are paying their fair share and could help reduce inequality in the process, experts say.
Claim: It will vastly increase the national debt
The House Republican caucus tweeted Thursday that the $1.75 trillion package "could add $1.75 TRILLION to the deficit."
In order for this to be true, the plan would have to have no funding mechanism or offsets whatsoever. The White House argues that the cost not only would be fully offset by the increased revenues and other spending cuts, but would actually reduce the overall federal deficit by $145 billion to $245 billion, according to its estimates.
Claim: It's the Green New Deal in disguise
Idaho Sen. Jim Risch tweeted that the cost of the new Build Back Better package "may be lower, but the same socialist Green New Deal provisions remain." Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin claimed similarly that the proposal includes "Green New Deal Funding."
The package does include what the Biden administration called "the largest effort to combat climate change in American history" and "the largest single investment in our clean energy economy in history, across buildings, transportation, industry, electricity, agriculture, and climate-smart practices across lands and waters."
The Green New Deal is a specific set of proposals to spend $9.5 trillion over a decade on economic, climate, and social goals. According to PolitiFact, it takes a very different approach than Biden on both clean energy and agriculture policies.
Claim: It allows the IRS to spy on your purchases
For months, GOP lawmakers have been attacking a proposal to let the IRS access annual bank account totals in order to crack down on wealthy individuals who hide unreported income, claiming this would let the agency spy on every purchase made by ordinary Americans.
Despite the fact that the provision has since been removed, Republicans are still insistent it is contained in the new plan.
"President Biden's tax & spend spree still includes... IRS Surveillance," Mullin claimed.
"Spend more than $28 a day? The IRS would like to have a word," the House Republican Policy Committee tweeted, a reference to the previous threshold for reporting, which averaged out to around $200 in spending per week.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.