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Biden Proposes To Spend Nearly $775 Billion On Caregiving


JOE BIDEN: We're in a child care emergency, and it didn't have to be this way.


That is presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden today as he unveiled his proposal for child care and elder care. His plan comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has upended caregiving routines for so many American families. NPR political correspondent Asma Khalid joins us now.

Hey, Asma.


KELLY: Tell me a little bit more about what Joe Biden had to say today.

KHALID: Well, he began by talking about how the pandemic has just shown how difficult it's been for working families to both deal with child care and also juggle their own jobs. And he talked about how it's also exposed the vulnerabilities we've seen in elder care. You know, think of nursing homes where so many people have died. This is the third big economic policy proposal that Joe Biden's unveiled in the last few weeks. And you know, as he did with some of the other plans and these public speeches that he made, he took this opportunity to critique President Trump.


BIDEN: You know, we're trapped in a caregiving crisis within an economic crisis within a health care crisis. You're doing everything you can, but this president is not.

KHALID: And you know, Mary Louise, what was notable to me is that the attacks on President Trump felt harsher today than they had in the past. You know, he said that Trump had essentially given up on taking care of the American people and that he has, quote, "quit on you, quit on this country."

KELLY: So what does the former vice president want to do? What exactly is in his plan?

KHALID: Sure. You know, he's proposing nearly $800 billion, and a lot of that money would go towards older Americans. That includes, you know, funding for lowering Medicaid waitlist times and tax breaks for people who already are taking care of their elderly family members themselves. And then on the child care front, he's calling for universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds and a sense of lowering the costs for families. So he's proposing a cap on the amount that low-income and middle-income families would pay, saying that they would not pay more than 7% of their income to take care of children under the age of 5.

But you know, a lot of this he proposes is not just about the caregiving side of this from, you know, families' point of view but also higher wages for the people providing care. And he said he sees this plan as a jobs plan. He envisions putting 3 million Americans in new types of care jobs, which he says could have these ripple effects.


BIDEN: The workers are ready now. These jobs can be filled now, allowing millions of people - primarily women - to get back to work now.

KELLY: All right. So that is some of the details on Joe Biden's plan. What is his plan for paying all this? You said something close to $800 billion.

KHALID: That is right. He is proposing closing loopholes on real estate investors and rolling back some of President Trump's tax breaks. You know, we should point out that the Trump campaign put out a statement about this plan and referred to it as an unaffordable left-wing agenda that they said just gets more expensive by the day.

KELLY: Just to loop back on something I think I heard you say, you mentioned this is the third economic plan from Biden in recent weeks.

KHALID: It is. And you know, I think what's notable about this is that for a while during this campaign cycle, he had focused a lot on critiquing President Trump and on the pandemic. And what we've seen in the last couple of weeks has been this focus on what a purported President Biden agenda would look like. And so you know, as the president himself is kind of fending off attacks about how he's been dealing with the pandemic, we're now seeing president - we're seeing a proposal, I should say, from Joe Biden about what his own plans would look like beyond just the pandemic.

KELLY: Thank you, Asma.

KHALID: You're welcome.

KELLY: NPR's Asma Khalid.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Asma Khalid is a White House correspondent for NPR. She also co-hosts The NPR Politics Podcast.