Washington, DC – Members of Congress, faith leaders, and parents gathered on Capitol Hill today to highlight the urgent need for Congress to expand the Child Tax Credit before the end of 2022. Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH) and House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) joined the speakers to call for swift action to address child poverty, which has risen sharply since the expiration of the expanded Child Tax Credit at the end of 2021. A recording of the event can be found here.
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“Expanding the Child Tax Credit provided families with the support they need to navigate challenging times,” said Rep. DeLauro. “Working families did not abuse this benefit—the [expanded] Child Tax Credit supported workers, and they used it to ensure their families were not just surviving, but thriving. Now that the expanded Child Tax Credit has lapsed and costs are rising, families are counting on us to extend that expansion once more. If we can provide tax cuts for corporations, we can certainly provide a tax cut for America’s kids.”
“Two million children in my state will benefit from the expanded Child Tax Credit. It cut child poverty nearly in half [in 2021],” said Sen. Brown. “You can just imagine that if this was still in effect this year, how it would have blunted the effects of inflation for millions and millions of families. That’s the call to action for me. There’s nothing more important than doing this.”
“My mission in Congress is to make America’s greatness affordable and accessible to all Americans. A significant obstacle to this goal has long been child poverty, which imposes harmful long-lasting consequences,” said Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (SC-6). “The expanded Child Tax Credit lifted millions of American children out of poverty in 2021; tragically, its expiration in 2022 has resulted in those same children falling back below the poverty line. We must do whatever we can to reinstate the expanded Child Tax Credit as fully as possible so that our nation’s children can realize the benefit of America’s greatness as they grow up and for the rest of their lives.”
The press conference was held exactly one year after the last monthly Child Tax Credit payments were delivered to parents. The lame-duck session represents Congress’s best chance to revive this transformative policy, which cut child poverty by more than 40% in 2021 and dramatically reduced racial poverty disparities.
In addition to the lawmakers present, speakers included faith leaders from a wide range of religious backgrounds, and parents who previously received the expanded Child Tax Credit.
Steffani Thomas, mother of four and member of Mormon Women for Ethical Government: “As believers in a God who loves all children, we should try to ensure that all families can enjoy a full reward. The Child Tax Credit leaves just a little more of the harvest for parents to glean for their children… Parents who are working hard and just need a little extra—the last grain from the corner of the good man’s field.”
Bridget Moix, general secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation: “Lawmakers have a moral responsibility to care for all of God’s children. Expansion of the Child Tax Credit is a golden opportunity to live up to that responsibility. This policy has already proven it works to lift millions of children out of poverty, reduce the poverty gap for Black, Latino, and Indigenous children, and give struggling families the help they need to pay for the basic necessities of life. Congress should seize the opportunity to expand the CTC now, before another year ends.”
Mary J. Novak, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice: “Right now, too many Members of Congress are talking about extending tax breaks for wealthy corporations without helping children who are living in poverty. Enough is enough. Child poverty is a stain on the soul of our nation. Congress, act to end child poverty.”
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism: “As Jewish tradition teaches, safeguarding economic security and supporting those in need are fundamental obligations of tzedek (justice). The great sage and Torah scholar Rashi instructs us to uplift our neighbors in times of need and ‘strengthen [them] as [they] begin to fall,’ preventing them from slipping into poverty in the first place. Congress must expand the CTC before the year ends and enable all workers, children, and families to live with greater security and dignity.”
Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners and director of the Georgetown University Center on Faith and Justice: “We do not all have to agree on how to fight poverty in this country, but when we see something that works, such as the Child Tax Credit, it makes little sense to stop merely because Congress can’t summon the political will. We have a moral obligation to ensure that every child — each made in the image of God — has the chance to grow and thrive. That is what it means to be ‘pro-family.’”
Darcy Hirsh, associate vice president for public affairs and government relations at the Jewish Federations of North America: “Poverty is a major, ongoing problem—both in Jewish community, where over a quarter have reported challenges in meeting basic needs, and in every community. The enhanced Child Tax Credit made a real difference, lifting millions of children out of poverty before it expired. It’s time to work together to get this critically effective program back on the books to help support the most vulnerable in all of our communities.”
Rev. Eugene Cho, president and CEO of Bread for the World: “The expanded Child Tax Credit cut childhood hunger in the U.S. by 24 percent before it expired at the end of 2021. Making the monthly payments permanent has the capacity to reduce childhood hunger by nearly 50 percent and lift three million children out of poverty. As families continue to face the crunch of higher prices on food and other basic expenses during this holiday season, reinstating the expanded Child Tax Credit – including the monthly payments – will help families put food on the table and pull millions of children back out of hunger. As the wisdom of Proverbs 3:27 (NIV) reminds us, we must not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in our power to act.”
The event was sponsored by: Friends Committee on National Legislation, National Council of Jewish Women, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, RESULTS, Sojourners, Church World Service, Presbyterian Church USA, United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, Bread for the World, Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology, The Jewish Federations of North America, National Council of Churches, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Rev. Dr. David Beckman (Coordinator of Circle of Protection), NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, The Society of St. Vincent dePaul, American Friends Service Committee, The Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology, Sisters of the Good Shepherd National Advocacy Center.