Experts Available: Democrats' $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Package

Director of Communications

This week, Democrats unveiled the details of their $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. As it stands, this massive package includes many of the Biden Administration's top priorities, such as funding for family leave, an expanded child tax credit, child care for working families, universal pre-school, free community college, public housing, expansions to Medicaid and Medicare, and tax reform among others. For journalists covering the details of this proposal, the following experts are available to provide commentary and analysis:

Family Leave

University of Massachusetts Boston

Albelda is a labor economist whose research and teaching focuses on economic policies that affect low-income women, especially mothers. This includes family and medical leave, cash assistance and other forms of public supports, tax policies, child care, and minimum wage. Albelda is a Professor of Economics and Senior Research Associate at the Center for Social Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

University of Denver

Greenfield's research explores how social insurance programs and other policies affect household economic security, especially for workers with care responsibilities. Policy topics such as paid family leave, mandatory minimum wages, and access to health insurance are a major focus of her work. She has completed commissioned policy analysis projects for the State of Colorado. Greenfield is an Associate Professor and the Associate Dean for Doctoral Education in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver.

Northwestern University

Percheski’s research focuses on American families and the ways family life is changing, including recent increases in unmarried parenthood and the rise of new employment patterns among mothers and fathers. Much of her work considers how changes in family life affect poverty, income inequality, and access to health insurance for children and adults. Percheski is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Institute for Policy Research Faculty Fellow at Northwestern University.

Child Tax Credit

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Halpern-Meekin uses qualitative and quantitative methods to study family relationships and low-income families’ finances, as well as government policies directed at these areas. Her research includes examining how social poverty shapes people’s wellbeing and decisions; understanding the lives of prime-age men who are out of the labor force; studying the role of on-again/off-again relationships in the lives of parents and their children; and longitudinally following how poor mothers of babies experience a program that provides them with monthly unconditional cash gifts; previous research focused on the Earned Income Tax Credit. Halpern-Meekin is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studiesat the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Child Care

Purdue University-Main Campus

Boling’s work focuses on issues that straddle the public-private divide: housework, childrearing, reproductive issues, sexuality and nutrition. Her research has compared work-family support policies in four countries to explain the political dynamics of why different countries develop particular approaches to supporting working families. Boling is a Professor of Political Science at Purdue University.

University of Chicago

Henly’s scholarship focuses on the economic and caregiving strategies of low-income families. Her ongoing funded projects investigate the effects of childcare subsidy policy reforms on caseload dynamics, the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on childcare programs, and parental childcare decision-making in Latinx communities. Henly is a Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, where she chairs the PhD program

Universal Pre-K

University of Florida

Curran has published widely in the area of early childhood education including work on the political antecedents of universal preschool and state-funded preschool adoption as well as work that examines early science achievement. He is a regular contributor to The Conversation and was formerly a middle school teacher. Curran is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy and Director of the Education Policy Research Center at the University of Florida. 

Portland State University

King is a labor economist, particularly focused on the public provision of high quality preschool and childcare, and other economic policy strategies that improve economic opportunities and outcomes for women, people of color and people from low-income backgrounds. With Lisa Dodson, King co-authored a recent report on Oregon’s Unmet Child Care Needs. She has spent the past three years working on the policy and campaign for Multnomah County's standard-setting new universal preschool program. King is Professor of Economics Emerita at Portland State University, the Vice President of the Board for the Oregon Center for Public Policy and a Rhodes Scholar.

University of Illinois at Chicago

Zinsser studies early childhood teacher preparation and teacher-child interactions that promote children’s social-emotional school readiness as well as mechanisms and policies to prevent preschool expulsion. She is an Associate Professor of Community & Prevention Research in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Free Community College

University of Pennsylvania

Perna’s work focuses on understanding and identifying how social structures, educational practices, and public policies can promote college access and attainment, particularly for groups that continue to be underrepresented in higher education. With her research team, she has created a publicly available searchable database of free college programs, written about the reasons that free college programs could improve college enrollment, and studied the implementation of free community college programs. Perna is the James S. Riepe Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.


George Washington University

Jones' research focuses on the residential and neighborhood context in which individuals live (such as housing instability, food deserts, and concentrated poverty) as a way to understand health disparities among marginalized populations. Jones is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at The George Washington University.

University of South Florida

Strom's research focuses on the intersection of policy, politics and planning in US and some European cities, including downtown redevelopment, the role of arts and culture in urban development, and affordable housing/foreclosure issues. Strom is an Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the University of South Florida.

Medicaid and Medicare Expansion

University of Chicago

Grogan's research focuses on the US health care system, including the role of private provision, the structure of public entitlements, and implications for health equity. Much of her work has focused on the intergovernmental Medicaid program. She is a Professor of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago.

Tax Increases

Syracuse University

Faricy’s main area of interest is in the politics of income inequality. Specifically, he examines how political parties use changes to tax policy to distribute federal money and how public opinion on tax breaks and inequality influences policymakers and public policy outcomes. Faricy is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Syracuse University.