Obama to Propose Stimulus for 'Sandwich Generation' Parents

Filed under: In The News


Families have a good reason to watch the State of the Union Address this week, and not just as fodder for a civics lesson. President Barack Obama is expected to announce a few proposals that mean to put more money back in the wallets of middle-class parents.

Details have begun leaking of the budget proposals which include doubling the child care tax credit, more federal funding for child care programs, capping student loan payments and more aid for families caring for elderly relatives. The President will officially present the proposals to a joint session of Congress during his State of the Union speech Wednesday.

An anonymous White House aide told The Washington Post that the proposals aim straight at the "Sandwich Generation" of parents struggling to raise kids and care for their own parents at the same time. Another unnamed official told The New York Times the president is zeroing in on "critical areas where middle-class families need a helping hand to get ahead," such as college costs. The proposals came from a White House task force targeting help for middle class households, headed by Vice President Joe Biden.

If Congress agrees, families with incomes under $85,000 a year would nearly double their child care tax credit. The Times estimated that that would lower a family's taxes by $900. The plan also would add $1.6 billion to federal funding of child care programs and allocate $102.5 million to help families caring for elderly relatives with transportation, adult day care and home care expenses.

And the plan gives a break to parents of college-age children who worry they'll be loaded with debt when their kids graduate. Obama plans to call for a cap on some student loans that would limit payments to 10 percent of the borrower's income after factoring out reasonable living expenses. His proposal also would forgive any loan balance left over after 10 years of payments for those graduates who choose to work in public service; others would see their debt forgiven after 20 years.

This all sounds well and good, but keep in mind that, after last week's special election in Massachusetts, the Democrats have lost their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and passage of any legislation in the House is never a given. Many of these proposals will morph into something else entirely by the time they make it through both houses of Congress -- if they make it at all. If the battle over health care reform is any indication, any budget proposals coming from the White House will have to be pushed hard to make it through Capitol Hill.

Related: Students Speeding Up Undergrad to Save Money

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