“With the Senate failing to extend the CTC, we must do more to protect our young people,” said Rep. Mondaire Jones. “By creating a universal, monthly child allowance, the End Child Poverty Act will do exactly that.”
by Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams
February 4, 2022
As millions of poor and working-class American families endure increased hardship due to the recent lapse of the federal child tax credit, a pair of progressive U.S. lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill that, if passed, would replace the expired lifeline with more generous benefits.
Matt Bruenig of People’s Policy Project—which endorses the new bill—concluded that the ECPA would reduce U.S. child poverty by two-thirds.
According to Tlaib and Jones, the ECPA “would be universal and include no income phase-ins or phase-outs. Children will be automatically enrolled at birth, and every family would receive a monthly payment for every child they are currently caring for between the ages of 0 and 18. The payment would be distributed by the Social Security Administration.”
In a statement, Jones said that “in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no child should be living in poverty. But today, due to decades of policy failure, far too many children in America are.”
The #ChildTaxCredit cut child poverty in half, but with this program expiring, we must do more to protect our young people.
Today, we're introducing the End Child Poverty Act to create a universal monthly child allowance and allow all children to reach their full potential. https://t.co/QKLmA0AT3t
— Rep. Mondaire Jones (@RepMondaire) February 3, 2022
“We know how to solve this problem,” he continued. “The expanded child tax credit that I helped to pass last year cut child poverty in half. But with the Senate failing to extend the CTC, we must do more to protect our young people. By creating a universal, monthly child allowance, the End Child Poverty Act will do exactly that—ensuring every child has the resources and support they need to reach their full potential.”
Tlaib said that “child poverty is a critical issue in the United States and I am proud to join Congressman Jones in introducing this universal child benefit that will surely make it easier for working-class people to afford necessities like diapers and childcare, and provide a long overdue safety net for our nation’s families and children.”
Currently, nearly 11 million—or 1 in 7—U.S. children live in poverty and #ChildrenAreHungry. As a mother, I understand how crucial it is to provide for our children’s health, safety, and development. That is why I am proud to introduce the End Child Poverty Act with @RepMondaire. pic.twitter.com/RxBQWslIyF
— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) February 3, 2022
“One out of five children live in poverty in Michigan and saw the benefit of the child tax credit on our families,” she added. “Too many families are now going without help after the Senate failed [to extend] the CTC and they deserve to have solutions in their government that will ensure that food is on their table and a roof is over their head.”
The lawmakers’ bill comes after the CTC expired because the U.S. Senate failed to pass the House-approved Build Back Better budget reconciliation package. Progressive lawmakers and advocates have blasted proposals by conservative Democrats including Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.) to means-test the CTC.
Among the most-developed Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, only Israel has a higher child poverty rate than the United States. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 16.1% of U.S. children were living in poverty in 2020, with figures rising to 17% for Latino children and 19.5% for Black youth. Advocates say these official figures significantly undercount the true number of children experiencing poverty.
“The universal child benefit provided by the End Child Poverty Act would be a lifeline for families across the country who are living in poverty and those living paycheck to paycheck,” Danielle Atkinson, founder and national executive director for Mothering Justice—which also endorses the ECPA—said in a statement.
Tlaib and Jones, she added, “are putting forth a bold and inclusive policy that would dramatically reduce child poverty and give families the opportunity to thrive.”
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How to contact your US Senators:
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, (Democrat)
Phx Office Phone: (602) 598-7327
DC Office Phone: (202)0224-4521
Sen. Mark Kelly, (Democrat)