December 06, 2022

Congressman Schiff Calls for Extension of the Expanded Child Tax Credit by Year’s End

Today, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer urging the House to extend the expanded Child Tax Credit – which has the ability to lift millions of California’s most economically-marginalized children out of poverty – before Republicans take control of the House in January.

The Child Tax Credit’s monthly payments are used by millions of families in California and across the country to pay for necessities including food, rent, educational expenses, and child care. The American Rescue Plan of 2021 critically expanded its reach and benefits, increasing monthly payments and the number of eligible recipients by removing an earnings requirement that kept the lowest-income families from claiming the full credit. Between July and December 2021, child poverty was slashed by nearly 40 percent to reach a record low of 5.2 percent, and 3 million children were lifted out of poverty in a single month.

However, the expansion expired in December 2021 due to Republican opposition, putting nearly 10 million children nationwide at risk of falling deeper into poverty – disproportionately children of color and children in the lowest-income families, like single-parent households. As House Democrats put forth their biggest legislative priorities over the next four weeks, Schiff is urging that an extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit is included in any year-end package.

“While this Congress has delivered on many priorities, we are faced with the choice to continue essential programming that families desperately need, like the Child Tax Credit. At a time when millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet and the prices of everyday essentials are at record highs, it is our responsibility as Members of Congress to pass bold legislation and codify policies that will ultimately help reduce poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity for American children and workers,” Schiff said in the letter.

The expanded Child Tax Credit provided a lifeline for more than 65.6 children nationwide, and nearly 8 million in California. According to data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, since the expansion expired, an estimated 19 million children nationwide and 2.4 million in California have been unable to claim the full payment.

Specifically, the Child Tax Credit expansion:

  • Increased the tax credit from $2,000 to $3,600 per child ages 0-6
  • Increased the tax credit from $2,000 to $3,000 per child ages 6+
  • Raised the age limit from 16 to 17
  • Made the tax credit fully refundable and removed the earnings requirement

“This Congress and the Biden Administration have implemented historic, progressive programs that have proven to diminish child poverty. At a time of enormous economic hardship, we are faced with a choice – to strengthen and expand these programs, or simply let them expire. In doing the latter, we miss a critical opportunity to invest in our youngest and most vulnerable members of society and their families,” the letter continues.

Schiff’s efforts are endorsed by the National Education Association, MomsRising, and Zero to Three.

 

Click here to read the letter or read the full text below:

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer:

We have an opportunity to make generational progress for our nation’s working families and children across the country in the next four weeks. And we must take it by extending the expanded Child Tax Credit.

Throughout the 117th Congress, the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats have made it clear that bringing financial relief to American workers and families has been our top priority. We have delivered on our promises to the American people time and time again through historic and bold investments in education, childcare, and our economy and we must continue to fight for the welfare of children, families, and communities across the nation.

As you consider any potential end-of-year package and tax extender bills to be brought to the Floor for a vote, I write to ask that you prioritize extending and making permanent the expanded monthly refundable Child Tax Credit as part of your efforts to support working class families and continue to make historic strides to reduce childhood poverty. When we last expanded the Child Tax Credit, 3 million children were pulled out of poverty and child poverty was slashed drastically by nearly 40 percent between 2020 and 2021, reaching a record low of 5.2 percent according to U.S. Census Bureau Data. Unfortunately, that expansion was not renewed because of Republican opposition.

While this Congress has delivered on many priorities, we are faced with the choice to continue essential programming that families desperately need, like the Child Tax Credit (CTC). At a time when millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet and the prices of everyday essentials are at record highs, it is our responsibility as Members of Congress to pass bold legislation and codify policies that will ultimately help reduce poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity for American children and workers.

Overwhelming evidence has shown that the enhanced CTC undoubtedly benefited American families and helped grow our economy. Families of over 60 million children received CTC monthly payments and families have used monthly CTC payments to pay for necessities such as food, rent, educational expenses, and childcare. According to monthly poverty measure estimates from researchers at Columbia University, the CTC was critical in lowering the poverty rate for children from 15.8 percent in June 2021 to 11.9 percent in July 2021, lifting 3 million children out of poverty in one month.

In January of this year, just one month after the expanded child tax credit (CTC) expired, nearly 4 million children fell back into poverty in one month—a stark undoing of the significant progress made. Now, because of the expiration, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that as many as 9.9 million children are at risk of dropping back below the poverty line or falling even deeper into poverty, including 7 million children of color. Poverty rates remain disproportionately high for Black, Latino, and American Indian and Alaska Native children. Without swift action, child poverty rates will continue to climb and experts fear what data will reveal in 2023.

The 117th Congress faces many critical priorities as we consider year-end legislation. This Congress and the Biden Administration have implemented historic, progressive programs that have proven to diminish child poverty. At a time of enormous economic hardship, we are faced with a choice—to strengthen and expand these programs, or simply let them expire. In doing the latter, we miss a critical opportunity to invest in our youngest and most vulnerable members of society and their families.

I strongly urge you to include an extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit—an investment that will safeguard the wellbeing of millions of American children, and families and protect future generations and our nation—in any year-end package.

Thank you for considering this request.

 

Sincerely,

Adam B. Schiff

 

CC: Chair Richard E. Neal, House Committee on Ways and Means

 

###