Inflation Reduction Act: We’re not there yet. Let’s keep fighting!
The Senate is expected to vote soon on a tax and investment plan that taxes large profitable corporations, reins in Big Pharma’s price gouging, lowers carbon emissions, and provides billions of dollars to keep health care affordable for millions of Americans.
News broke recently that Senator Kyrsten Sinema has gotten on board with Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act. Critical investments in combating the climate crisis as well as lowering prescription drug prices and extending health care subsidies for 13 million Americans remain in the bill.
Now, as the Senate prepares to debate the bill, we’re combating bad amendments, such as anti-immigrant amendments and proposals to give corporations even more tax breaks. And we’re reminding senators that there’s still an opportunity to strengthen the bill by closing the Medicaid coverage gap, which leaves 2 million poor people uninsured, address the child care crisis for working families, and address maternal mortality rates, which are climbing and disproportionately impact Black and Latina women.
The children are hurting edition. We’ve known for some time that students’ math and reading skills have suffered during the pandemic. This is mostly due to the shift to virtual learning that begun in March 2020. Students – particularly those from families with low incomes, disproportionately Black, brown and Indigenous students – did not achieve as well when they were out of the classroom. The pandemic has led to declines in school enrollment around the nation, which in turn is forcing budget cuts in many school districts – not a good way to repair the damage inflicted on students. But we now are learning more about other ways children are hurting – with more threats on the horizon.
And it’s worth a mention – businesses are hard at work to get tax breaks in any legislative packages that are moving. It would be an outrage if Congress approves corporate breaks while allowing the harm to children to continue. What we need are corporate tax increases to help pay for investments in our children and families – not the reverse.
Kids are hurting because far too many parents are increasingly unable to afford enough food and to pay for other basic expenses. They’ve been hit twice: the loss of monthly Child Tax Credit payments (for a family with two children, that amounted to $550 – $600 per month) and rising costs of basics, including food, rent, and gas. There is a huge body of research to show that inadequate nutrition and poverty make it harder for children to succeed in school, so all these harms are inter-related.
Congress can do something about this – it can renew the Child Tax Credit, and extend school and summer food waivers which are expiring in 13 days, so children can get the food they need. It can keep health care costs down, invest in child care and housing… Right now, none of that is agreed to, because 51 senators are standing in the way. Children are paying the price.
Increase in the cost of foodin the 12 months ending in May, hitting families with low incomes hard and making it harder for schools and summer food programs to purchase food. Tweet this.
13 days; 30m
The number of days before waivers expire (on June 30) that have allowed higher federal reimbursements for school and summer meals programs and more free meals. Some 30 million children will be affected if Congress does not act. Tweet this.
When families were receiving the monthly Child Tax Credit, reports of not having enough to eat dropped by 26 percent; after Congress let the CTC lapse, reported lack of food rose 12 percent, according to Children’s HealthWatch.
A recent nationwide surveyof 362 school counselors conducted by the New York Times found that 94 percent of counselors said their students were showing more signs of anxiety and depression than before the pandemic. Almost nine in ten counselors said students were having more trouble regulating their emotions. And nearly 75 percent said their students were having more difficulty solving conflicts with friends.
The amountof funds New York City schools stand to lose because of declines in student enrollment. The cuts could mean faculty layoffs, increased class sizes and elimination of enrichment programs. School districts across the U.S., particularly in urban areas, face large budget cuts due in part to students leaving school during the pandemic and not returning.
40 percent of parents with kids under age 5 have no plans to get their children vaccinated, while roughly the same number say they’ll wait and see how the vaccine is working for others, according to polling. Fewer than 20 percent of parents say they’ll get their kids vaccinated right away.
More than 100 million Americans – 41 percent of all adults – have outstanding medical debt, according to a brand new study by Kaiser Health News and NPR. This is far greater than previously reported, because much of the debt is masked as credit card balances, loans from family members, or payment plans to hospitals and other medical providers. A pollconducted by the two news outlets found that families are being forced to cut spending on food and other essentials, and millions are being driven from their homes or face bankruptcy.