Like many others, my 2022 is off to a rocky start. I am writing this as I scramble to find a COVID-19 test appointment for my feverish two-year-old and my son is home with his school closed.
I know I am far from alone. Families need a lifeline, but just when we need help the most, the U.S. Senate failed to act before the new year to extend the monthly Child Tax Credit payments and pass key policies like paid family and medical leave and child care that would have helped families, businesses, and our economy weather this COVID-19 surge.
It’s a new year and Senators, we need new action – time to get to work for the American people! Join us in telling the U.S. Senate to vote YES and pass the Build Back Better Act which will save the Child Tax Credit, pass paid family and medical leave, and boost child care that helps children and families thrive!
Families cannot afford to wait a minute longer. Businesses cannot afford to wait any longer. Our nation cannot afford to wait any longer.
Omicron is wreaking havoc on families and in communities across the country – child care providers continue to be on the frontlines as they care for children who lack access to an approved COVID-19 vaccine and face historic staffing shortages as Omicron rages. This is happening at the same time that forced closures continue in child care settings, impacting parents and families health and ability to get to work. After all, we all know it can be next to impossible to be at work without access to child care – and also that child care providers need protections too. When you add the lack of paid leave to help ensure families can take care when sick and not lose critical income while isolating, it’s a MESS.
And just as families need support the most, the monthly Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments ENDED in December because Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and the Republican Senators refused to pass Build Back Better, which would have extended it. With Omicron raging, it's more important than ever to pass the Build Back Better Act to extend the CTC, advance affordable child care and free Pre-K, guarantee paid family and medical leave, make home-and community-based services for the elderly and those with disabilities more affordable, pay care workers living wages and create good care jobs, lower the cost of insulin and other prescription drugs, make healthcare more affordable, and more.
Moreover, studies show the Build Back Better Act will be good for business and lower inflation by making sure that workers have the access to the child care, elder care, and paid family and medical leave they need to stay in their jobs, which will improve the supply chain issues that are causing inflation.
Here’s what’s going on: Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, signed by President Biden in March, most families have been receiving monthly payments to help raise their kids in the form of the Child Tax Credit. How much money? For every child under the age of 6 families should have been receiving $300/month and for each child ages 6-17 families should have been receiving $250/month. Plus, now those of us who made little or no income in the past year have still been able to get the CTC!  That’s some serious cash that has already done some serious good in helping our families make ends meet during this difficult time. And we’ve already seen in just a few months that these checks are reducing hunger and poverty for families across the country.  In fact, 2021 poverty rates are projected to fall to the lowest figures on record  – and this is particularly amazing given we are in the middle of a pandemic!
And there’s more: Building off President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a plan to extend the expanded CTC and ensure that low income families will ALWAYS have access to the benefit. It also includes key provisions like paid family and medical leave and affordable child care – all of which would be a lifeline to parents and families who are facing a particularly contagious variant of the COVID-19. BUT Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Republicans failed to act and locked families out of their monthly Child Tax Credit payments and critical policies that support families in good times and pandemic times, like paid family and medical leave and affordable child care and elder care.
Because the Senate failed to act, all the great improvements to the Child Tax Credit are going away, sending millions of children and families back into poverty, disproportionately impacting families of color. Moreover, failing to extend the CTC raises costs for families at a time when the U.S. and the world is fighting the super contagious Omicron valiant and inflationary pressures due to supply chain issues.  It’s clear: The CTC expansion needs to be restored and we need to enact pro-family and pro-business policies like paid family and medical leave and affordable child care to lower family costs and weather this pandemic.
*We need your help to speak out! Please use your voice and sign our letter calling on the U.S. Senate to get back to work and restore the expanded Child Tax Credit by immediately passing the Build Back Better Act. And while we are at it, let them hear loud and clear that children and families need investments in the full suite of programs that allow families to thrive: paid family and medical leave, child care, lower drug prices and healthcare, home- and community-based services, and a pathway to citizenship.
Families have been rising to demand the change we deserve and Congress needs to step up and do their jobs for families across the country. We won’t let Congress revoke the single largest reduction for child poverty – we demand they take action today!