WASHINGTON — More than 200 national, state and local organizations are urging the White House to build on the extraordinary child poverty-fighting measures in the latest COVID relief package by making them permanent.
The American Rescue Plan Act, passed by Congress in March, is expected to reduce child poverty by more than 50% this year through a combination of improvements to the tax code and other critical investments. In particular, the expansion and strengthening of the Child Tax Credit is predicted to lift more than 4 million children out of poverty. These structural changes are especially important for low-income families and begin to address some of the racial inequities in our tax code.
Led by the bipartisan nonprofit First Focus Campaign for Children, 209 organizations have urged President Biden to:
• Create a permanent, robust child benefit based on the American Family Act of 2021 (H.R. 928);
• Permanently increase the benefits of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and extend it to a larger population of childless workers and young adults, including former foster youth and homeless youth;
• Make permanent the increase, accessibility and first-time refundable provision of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) outlined in the American Rescue Plan Act.
“The improvements in the American Rescue Plan Act are historic, as they are estimated to cut child poverty in half. Making the tax credit changes permanent will support and protect the well-being of children and struggling families across the country through this crisis, our recovery, and beyond,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children.
Several members of Congress also endorsed the proposals.
“No matter where I go in Colorado, I hear the same thing from families and workers: they are working really hard, but they still can’t afford some combination of child care, health care, housing, and higher education,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). “We took a historic step forward with the American Rescue Plan by expanding the CTC and EITC to cut child poverty nearly in half and boost incomes for millions of workers without kids. It is essential we make these expansions permanent to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the very top.”
“Millions of children across our nation face food insecurity and poverty – a crisis that has only been magnified by the current public health and economic crises,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). “The historic expansion of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan will help drastically reduce the child poverty rate, and I am pleased that President Biden said last week that he supports making these critical expansions permanent. I am grateful to our partners in this mission, and look forward to working with them and the Biden Administration and to provide children and families the help they need now while laying the groundwork for a stronger long-term economic recovery.”
“Even before the pandemic, hard work wasn’t paying off for millions of workers. Ohioans wanted us to go big and make a real difference in their lives. That’s what these tax credits will do. The EITC and CTC are two of the best tools we have to put money in the pockets of working families and lift millions of children out of poverty,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “And we’re not going to stop there. Now, we need to make these expansions permanent to help reward work, reduce poverty, and make life better for millions of Americans.”
“In the midst of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, millions of parents are struggling to put food on the table and cover the cost of child care,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). “The historic expansion to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit will reduce poverty and support working parents by covering up to half the cost of child care. First Focus Campaign for Children is a true champion for working families and I echo their calls to make permanent the improvements to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.”
“I stand united with the hundreds of child and family advocates supporting the permanent expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) made in the American Rescue Plan,” said Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL). These policies dramatically reduce child poverty, enhance families’ economic security, strengthen our national economy, and connect vulnerable individuals — like foster youth, homeless youth, and younger workers – to the labor force, especially for African Americans, single parents, and mothers younger than 25.”
“The broad and diverse support these historic poverty-fighting measures have received further underscore why we need to make them permanent. In particular, a permanent expansion of the Child Tax Credit would change the trajectory of the lives of over 4 million children in this country. It would give them and their families a fair chance at success, especially for Black and Hispanic families and families led by single mothers,” said Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA). “We can change forever how we address poverty in America. The value to our society is too great to miss this opportunity.”
“As we confront the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, millions of Americans are experiencing immense hardship,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY). “The American Rescue Plan’s expansion of the CTC, the EITC, and the CDCTC will be transformative for families and workers, but we need to make these expansions permanent, which would take major steps toward eradicating poverty and hardship. We must meet this opportunity to build back our economy to be stronger and more equitable for all.”
First Focus on Children is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions.