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Kansas And Missouri Lawmakers React Along Party Lines To President Biden’s Economic Plans

Melina Mara
AP Pool-The Washington Post
President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, as Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., look on. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

Local Democratic leaders took pride in President Biden's proposals, but Republican lawmakers expressed concerns about a new $1.8 trillion plan.

Kansas City-area lawmakers divided along party lines in response to President Joe Biden first address to Congress on Wednesday night.

Biden said that America is “on the move again” as he praised his administration's COVID-19 response, which included administering more than 200 million vaccinations since taking office.

Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas said in a statement that the country is turning a corner on the pandemic.

“The last 100 days have been about getting shots into people’s arms, money into people’s pockets, and relief to people who need it. We can't let up now,” Davids said.

Biden's speech also laid out his American Families Plan, which includes $1.8 trillion on universal pre-kindergarten and free community college.

After the speech, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Kansas City Democrat, said that he was “profusely proud to call Joe Biden my President.”

“Our nation gets better the more we can add years on to education on both ends, and that is when our children are young and fresh, and once they graduate from high school,” Cleaver said.

The proposal also includes plans for affordable childcare, paid leave and initiatives aimed at tackling child poverty. Cleaver said these changes would help the nation catch up with other countries with similar policies.

Biden said that his administration plans to cut child poverty in half by extending the Child Tax Credit increases, which were originally made in the American Rescue Plan, through 2025.

To pay for the initiatives, Biden is proposing a tax hike for people earning more than $400,000.

“It's time for corporate America and the wealthiest 1% of Americans to begin to pay their fair share,” Biden said.

Republican legislators expressed concerns about the plans for the proposal’s funding following the president’s speech.

Republican Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas said on Twitter that the speech was about “government control of our lives.”

“What we heard tonight from President Biden was more of his pitch to sell his partisan wish list that raises taxes, spends more money, increases regulations, and pushes the American people to government dependency,” Marshall said.

Other lawmakers expressed concerns about the lack of unity seen from Biden’s administration during his first 100 days in office.

Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas said the president showed he was unwilling to work with Republicans when his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package passed through Congress as part of budget reconciliation.

“I also agree that we should focus on supporting families and education, but these things are achieved through creating jobs and opportunities, not by adding an additional $1.8 trillion spending package,” Moran said in a statement.

Republican Rep. Sam Graves, whose district spans the Northland, shared his thoughts on Twitter.

Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Harrisonville raised concerns about the president’s first 100 days on Twitter. She said he took credit for the COVID-19 that he inherited from “the previous administration’s unprecedented efforts.”

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley introduced an alternative proposal earlier this week called the “Parent Tax Credit.”

The credit has an annual value of $6,000 for single parents and $12,000 for married parents.

Hawley said in an opinion piece that the policy would “promote the family” by not requiring a two-income household.

“No family should be forced into a particular childcare arrangement by the government. And no parent should be treated worse by the tax code for choosing to do the work of raising kids at home,” Hawley said.

He said current policies and proposed subsidies for childcare promote enrolling children in commercial childcare don’t allow parents a choice in raising their child at home.

More than ever, education lies at the intersection of equity, housing, funding, and other diverse issues facing Kansas City’s students, families and teachers. As KCUR’s education reporter, I’ll break down the policies driving these issues in schools and report what’s happening in our region's classrooms. You can reach me at jodifortino@kcur.org.
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