President pitches American Families Plan that would extend child tax credits, free community college

ATLANTA — On the eve of his trip to Georgia, President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time and made another bold proposal.

If passed, Biden said his American Families Plan would make community college free, invest in universal preschool and extend the enhanced child tax credit.

That money is already guaranteed to parents this year as part of the latest stimulus package already passed. But now, Biden is proposing giving the checks every year through 2025.

That would mean $3,600 a year for each child under 6 and $3,000 a year for each child ages 6 to 17.

For the Harper family in Lumpkin County, Biden’s proposed extension of big child tax credits could be a game-changer.

“This money is really huge for our family,” mother Whitney Harper said. “When you have kids … the money, you just never stop … they just never get cheaper.  So I think this is just a great tool to keep our heads above water.”

They’re now a one-income household, but with Biden’s proposal, the Harpers would likely receive roughly $30,000 in tax credits over the next five years.

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“Just giving us peace of mind and knowing that I can be home with the kids and keep our family afloat,” Harper said.

Channel 2′s political analyst, Bill Crane, told Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon that the president is trying to move quickly on a bold agenda.

“There’s also a decent chance that the House majority may shift in the 2022 midterms, and the president is very mindful that right now. He has both chambers of Congress if he wants to move his agenda forward,” Crane said.

Crane said the $1.8 trillion price tag will draw plenty of criticism from Republicans.

“I do think there’s a chance that you’ll see Republicans come back and try to shorten that window, not as far out as 2025,” Crane said.

Biden said he’ll pay for the plan by raising taxes on the rich. A Georgia State University economics professor told Wilfon he believes the benefits of Biden’s proposal will outweigh the risks.

“There is obviously a concern about funding it — so if it’s funded by debt. We’re starting to get into issues of potential inflation. But I think in terms of equity, it’s an important thing to do,” Crane said.

Most parents will begin to receive the child tax credit money in July in the form of monthly payments that will last through the end of the year. Now the question is whether those payments will last beyond 2021.