Advocates step up pressure on Senate to follow House, pass bipartisan, expanded Child Tax Credit 


March 5, 2024

Advocates this week renewed their call for an expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) with a Day of Action urging the Senate to follow the House and approve the bipartisan tax package that expands the CTC. 

Many CHN members and allies are activating their networks, using resources from the CTC social media toolkit, a Senate Hotline Call-in Page, and resources from our toolkit for state and local groups, including email templates local and state groups can use when communicating with members of Congress and their staff. (This guide largely covers appropriations issues, but includes the CTC.) 

On Tuesday, the Coalition on Human Needs warned our email network of efforts in the Senate to remove a “lookback” provision that would prevent low-income families from receiving their full CTC allotment based on their previous year’s earnings. This provision was included in the House legislation, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. 

“Low-income families often experience a temporary loss in wages―to care for a sick family member, welcome a new child, or because of layoffs or reduced hours―and this ‘lookback’ provision is critical, because it allows them to qualify for a higher Child Tax Credit based on the previous year’s income,” CHN wrote.There has been bipartisan support for a ‘lookback’ before and about half of the families who would benefit from the lookback provision have either a young child (under age 3) or a family member with a disability.” 

Last month, shortly after the House passed the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act on a strong, bipartisan 357-70 vote, CHN noted in a blog post that the legislation in particular would help children in low-income families, lifting 500,000 children out of poverty by 2025. 

“It is well targeted to assist families with low incomes,” CHN wrote. “Because their parents disproportionately work at low wages, more than one in three Black and Latino children and three in ten American Indian/Alaska Native children under 17 will benefit from this bill. So will approximately one in seven White and Asian children under 17.” 

In another recent blog post, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities spelled out the types of workers whose families will benefit: more than 400,000 cashiers, 340,000 maids and housekeeping cleaners, 340,000 personal care and home health aides, 280,000 janitors and building cleaners, 250,000 nursing assistants, and 240,000 waiters and waitresses, just to name a few. 

And CBPP explained in human terms why the Senate should retain the “lookback” provision in the CTC legislation. 

“Many low-paid workers — often in service occupations — have volatile work hours and little or no paid leave,” CBPP wrote. “If they get sick, welcome a new child, or face health or caregiving needs, their earnings can drop significantly, either because they have to take unpaid leave or because they lose their job altogether. As a result, many could benefit from a provision in the bipartisan expansion that would allow a family whose earnings temporarily dropped to use the prior year’s earnings to calculate their Child Tax Credit.” 

Late last month, CHN joined roughly 330 other local, state, and national groups in sending a letter to the Senate urging passage of the measure. “The Child Tax Credit (CTC) provides critical assistance to families as they confront the rising costs of raising children, and we know from experience it can lift millions of children out of poverty,” states the letter, which was authored by the Automatic Benefit for Children (ABC) Coalition. “To promote the general welfare and well-being of children, youth, and families, all children should be eligible to receive an expanded CTC on a permanent basis.” 

CHN members and our allies are building momentum for that larger vision of a Child Tax Credit that reaches all children and permanently reduces child poverty – and today’s CTC Day of Action is a part of that strategy. Join us!