Today, in advance of President Biden’s first joint address to Congress on Wednesday, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (CA-53) and Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15), together with their first-term colleagues in Congress, sent a letter to President Biden, urging him to make the expanded Child Tax Credit permanent and monthly.
The expanded Child Tax Credit was a key provision included in the American Rescue Plan, which studies show will cut childhood poverty in half. The tax credit written into the American Rescue Plan is set to expire in a year and President Biden, while originally in favor of making it permanent, has indicated he would support a four-year extension instead.
Congresswoman Sara Jacobs has made ending childhood poverty – an effort accelerated by the permanent expansion of the Child Tax Credit – a priority of her time in Congress, coupled with improving child care accessibility and affordability in San Diego and across the country.
“I was so proud to fight for the expanded Child Tax Credit to be included in the American Rescue Plan and to have made so much progress on ending childhood poverty in my first four months in Congress. But it’s unacceptable that we would let those tax credits expire and allow five million American kids to fall back into poverty,” said Congresswoman Jacobs. “We have the opportunity to make investments now that will impact a generation of Americans, and I’m grateful my freshman classmates have joined me and Congressman Torres in urging President Biden to prioritize making those tax credits permanent.”
This letter was signed by ten first-term Members of Congress, including Representatives Jake Auchincloss (MA-4), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-3), Marie Newman (IL-3), Deborah Ross (NC-2), Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), and Nikema Williams (GA-5).
Click here to read the full letter or read the full text below:
Dear President Biden:
Thank you for everything you have done to help American families, and especially low-income families, survive this pandemic and begin to build back better. We were so proud to pass the American Rescue Plan last month and to have prioritized within that bill the expansion of the child tax credit, which is expected to cut child poverty in half and lift so many of our constituents out of poverty. And while this is an important start, we also know that addressing child poverty for the short-term is not sufficient. As freshmen Members of Congress, we came to Washington, D.C. to enact substantive change, and the American Rescue Plan was just the start. American families need a permanent child tax credit – not one that lasts one year, or even four.
Before the American Rescue Plan became law, 27 million children did not receive the child tax credit as a result of low parental income. For years, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, our broken child care system was unable to meet the needs of all families. And we know those weaknesses, and the devastating effects on the American workforce, were only exacerbated by the pandemic. It will take a long time for American families to fully recover from this crisis, and cutting off this important lifeline is both unnecessary and expensive. In fact, the National Academies of Sciences found that child poverty itself costs America between $800 billion and $1.1 trillion per year.
During the pandemic, child poverty reached an estimated high of 21.4% in August 2020 – up from 18.7% pre-pandemic. Pulse Survey reported that nearly 7 to 11 million children lived in households without enough food because their parents could not afford it. This financial hardship was, and still is, more present in communities of color: Black and Hispanic households were twice more likely than white households to not have adequate food and nutrition. The expanded child tax credit directly benefits these families, and it is imperative that it continues permanently.
In July, American families who qualify for the child tax credit will start to receive it. Nearly 3 in 4 families with children will receive a larger tax credit than before, with the bottom fifth of earners seeing the largest increase in benefits. Now is the time to make the child tax credit permanent, and make it monthly. We have the momentum in Congress – and with your support from the White House, we can make this happen.
We know you share our commitment to America’s kids, and we remain grateful for your steady leadership in this difficult time. Together, we have a chance to truly help American families build back better. We hope you will join us in ensuring the expanded child tax credit becomes permanent.