“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve the lives and futures of millions of U.S. children and cut childhood poverty in half. I urge you to vote in favor of the expansion of the Child Tax Credit and raise the Earned Income Tax Credit for millions of struggling workers and families at this time of urgent need.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has created incredible health and economic problems for millions of U.S. families. We need to act now!
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “President Biden’s $1.9 trillion emergency relief plan includes a Child Tax Credit expansion that would lift 9.9 million children above or closer to the poverty line, including 2.3 million Black children, 4.1 million Latino children, and 441,000 Asian American children.”
If passed, this expansion of the Child Tax Credit would be available to 27 million children whose families don’t currently get the full credit because their parents don’t earn enough. And it would raise the maximum Child Tax Credit from $2,000 to $3,000 for children between ages 6 and 17, and to $3,600 for children under 6.
These changes are long overdue and, if passed, would cut childhood poverty nearly in half.
Congress can also help more than 17 million of the poorest adults, because the new proposal would increase their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). These are front-line workers without dependent children―cashiers, food preparers, and home health aides―who either now don’t qualify at all or get so little that the taxes they pay can push them deeper into poverty.
Take a look at this example of why we need to change the existing law:
In 2019, those earning between $10,000 and $20,000 received an average total of $850 from the Child Tax Credit while those earning between $75,000 and $100,000 typically received more than three times that amount, or the full $2,000 per child.
As part of the new legislation, the Child Tax Credit would no longer be tied to a minimum amount of family earnings, so families whose income is low would receive the full amount. We will no longer say to families: sorry, you’re too poor to get help.
The Credit would be increased from $2,000 to $3,000 for children 6 years of age through age 17; and increased to $3,600 for families with children younger than 6.
For workers without children, their maximum EITC would rise from about $530 to $1,500. A cashier earning $9 an hour at 30 hours a week now gets only $160 in her EITC; she still pays taxes that push her below the poverty line. The proposal before Congress would increase her EITC to $1,145, enough to edge her over the poverty line.
Together, we must demand Congress act swiftly to help U.S. families that are struggling in this terrible pandemic.