BIRMINGHAM, Al. – When a group of senior West Wing officials recently met to discuss how to communicate to the public the details of a $ 1.9 trillion pandemic relief program , it didn’t take long for them to decide that First Lady Jill Biden needed to travel the country to promote one of her most ambitious provisions: a generous tax credit that could, at least temporarily, pull out millions children of poverty.
“His campaign nickname was ‘The Closer’,” said Anita Dunn, senior advisor to President Biden who was part of the planning.
On Friday, Dr Biden traveled to Birmingham, Alabama on his first trip highlighting the provision, telling a crowd at the YWCA: “This administration is going to make sure you have what you need to get through the storm.”
“In the past, you used to get $ 2,000 for a child tax credit,” Dr. Biden said. “This year, if you have children under the age of 6, you will receive $ 3,600. For older children, it will be $ 3,000. ”
According to a fact sheet released by Columbia University, the relief plan could cut child poverty in the United States in half. Among its provisions, the stimulus package includes a child tax credit to supplement the income of low-income families.
It is also expanding the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance program benefits by $ 3.5 billion, or about $ 28 more per person, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Dr Biden appeared with Rep. Terri Sewell, Democrat of Alabama, who told the crowd she was proud to be the only congressman from Alabama to vote for the US bailout.
“They wanted direct resources,” Sewell said of the state’s families, referring to the direct payments provided by the stimulus package.
Earlier on Friday, the first lady visited an early childhood development center and met with preschool students who will benefit from a $ 1 billion increase in funding for Head Start programs, the White House said. The programs provide early intervention education and support to students, many of whom are low-income.
The $ 1.52 trillion budget plan released by the Biden administration on Friday called Head Start a chronically underfunded program and called for $ 1.2 billion in additional funding, bringing the total to $ 11.9 billion. dollars.
Of the 45 million Americans who depend on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance program, about 392,000 of them are children living in Alabama, according to data compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a foundation that promotes wellness. children. And according to Alabama Possible, a nonprofit organization that tracks poverty rates, about 256,000 children live below the federal poverty line. (An earlier version of this article misstated the total number of people who rely on SNAP across the country compared to Alabama.)
“It is important to her that people who have felt invisible in the past or disconnected from government are welcome, included and accepted by this administration,” said Elizabeth Alexander, the first lady’s director of communications.