Senator Casey Unveils Plan for Child Welfare Reform

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, unveiled his “Five Freedoms for America’s Children” plan on Feb. 18 in a meeting at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Greensburg office, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. By proposing this plan, Casey hopes to encourage Congress to protect children across the nation’s fundamental freedoms to be safe from harm, healthy, economically secure, able to learn and able to not go hungry. 

The 33-page proposal will protect children’s freedom to be healthy by guaranteeing access to health care through enrollment in Medicaid at birth. The freedom to be economically secure will be guaranteed by depositing $500 a year into a government savings account for children born into families with less than $100,000 yearly income, which they can access at age 18 to use for professional development purposes. The freedom to learn will be guaranteed by promoting access to high-quality child care and early education programs. The freedom from hunger will be guaranteed by expanding school-provided meal programs. The freedom to be safe from harm will be guaranteed by implementing support programs for children who are victims of abuse and neglect as well as paying prosecutors in large abuse cases.

However, Casey will face an uphill battle in implementing his plan because of its hefty $1.7 trillion price tag. He may additionally face challenges due to President Trump’s history of favoring proposals to cut welfare programs. 

“The political climate right now isn’t in a posture where a number of these major items would pass readily,” Casey told the Tribune-Review. “I just thought it was important to put on paper a detailed plan for America’s children. We’ve never really had that, at least not in the recent past.”

Casey believes that his plan could be financed by increasing the corporate tax rate. The corporate tax rate was previously reduced from 35% to 21% but Casey believes that increasing it to 28% could help pay for the plan. According to the Tribune-Review, Casey additionally intends to finance the plan by “taking steps to collect some $500 billion in taxes that go unpaid each year; establish a 15% minimum corporate tax; return the top marginal tax rate to 39.6%; and return the estate tax to its pre-2017 level.”


Article written by Amelia Winger on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association