A Statement from the ABC Coalition Steering Committee and Parent Advisory Board
August 8, 2022 (Washington, DC)—We applaud the critical investments in the Senate-passed Inflation Reduction Act for reducing health care costs, improving our tax system and addressing the climate change crisis. But much more is needed to support families with children. Notably, Congress’s failure to extend the demonstrably successful Child Tax Credit of 2021 is a missed opportunity.
It is a missed opportunity to improve the health and well-being of families with children across the country.
It is a missed opportunity to support families and keep millions of children out of poverty.
It is a missed opportunity to help families offset the economic burden imposed by inflation.
It is a missed opportunity to advance racial equity.
It is a missed opportunity to invest in local communities.
In 2021, 35 million families with 65 million children—approximately 90 percent of all children in the United States—benefited from immediate and consistent relief through the CTC. Expanded through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the CTC kept 3.7 million children, including 662,000 Black children and 1.3 million Latinx children, out of poverty in December, the last month the regular payment was available. Study after study shows that families who received the monthly CTC payments used the money to meet basic needs like paying bills and covering the cost of necessities such as food, rent, and clothing. By providing unconditional support to children and families, the CTC also recognized the critical work caregivers do every day raising the next generation. And they felt the effects, as the expanded CTC reduced parental stress and gave them more time to spend with their children. For Black and Latinx families, the positive impacts were even more pronounced.
As Kali Daugherty, a member of the ABC Coalition’s Parent Advisory Board, observed, the CTC has helped her own family, as well as the families she works with in social services. For other families, “It meant they could pay their utility bill, get a new pair of shoes for their children, and have enough food for their family. For my family it meant making it to the end of the month without having to [put] gas, groceries, or other needed items on a credit card. It meant I could avoid the constant circle of high interest payments to get our basic needs met. I implore Congress to address the financial burden children and families in our country are facing and to bring back the monthly CTC payments that helped to eliminate this.”
Congress cannot continue to delay. They must act urgently to help the families who need it most and advance racial equity by pursuing new opportunities to extend the expanded CTC. It is our duty as a nation to protect all children and families and give them the resources they deserve not only to survive, but to thrive. As policymakers return to Washington, they can and must prioritize policies like the expanded CTC and send relief to families now.
All efforts to enact an expanded CTC should ensure that the CTC is fully available on a monthly basis to all children who need it, including children in families with the lowest incomes and children with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers who were excluded by the Trump Administration. Congress also should take steps to enable families to access the credit, including by allocating additional funding for outreach by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and community partners, ensuring simplified tax filing, and protecting families from owing money back to the IRS. These provisions are crucial to ensuring that the credit advances economic and racial equity in years to come.
About the ABC Coalition. The Automatic Benefit for Children Coalition is a cross-cutting group of national, state, and grassroots organizations. Our mission is to create a child allowance, or a guaranteed minimum income for children, that provides regular, meaningful assistance to families, promotes racial equity and justice, enjoys broad public support, and serves as a foundation for a more equitable and inclusive social support system. We see the expansion of a fully inclusive Child Tax Credit as a step toward that goal. Learn more at www.abccoalition.org.
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