Lawmakers will face a crowded agenda when they return to Washington for the post-election lame-duck session. Among the issues demanding lawmakers’ attention will be whether to extend enhancements to the child tax credit (CTC), which resulted in an unprecedented drop in child poverty. Meanwhile, Corporate interest groups are also pushing Congress to expand the tax cut that they received in the 2017 Trump tax package. One thing is clear: Congress should not prioritize corporate tax breaks over America’s children.
The CTC was expanded in both size and scope as part of the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) for one year only. Most importantly, the ARP made the credit available to the lowest-income families by making it fully refundable. The 2021 changes alone lifted 2.1 million children out of poverty last year. By allowing families to receive half of their credit through monthly payments, the CTC stabilized the finances of more than 36 million families, including nearly 62 million children, at a time of great economic uncertainty, allowing families to pay rents and mortgages, purchase healthier foods, as well as avoid debt. Rigorous research documented a significant reduction in hardship among the lowest-income families claiming the credit but no reduction in the labor supply, undermining CTC critics’ claims that the expanded credit would discourage individuals from seeking employment. A new study by University of Michigan researchers, for example, found that low-income families, those most likely to have directly benefited from the 2021 expansions, experienced, “a significant reduction in the number of material hardships…primarily driven by declines in food insecurity.”
The above excerpt was originally published in The Hill.
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