JAMA Advocates for Reinstatement of Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments

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Congress will have to turn a blind eye to reality if it refuses to reinstate monthly child tax credit payments.


Key points

  • In six months, the expansion of the child tax credit lifted 3.7 million children out of poverty.
  • The month after the child tax credit expansion ended, food insecurity soared.
  • JAMA urges Congress to reinstate the expanded child tax credit.

Last month’s edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) confirmed what dozens of other studies have found: food insecurity increased dramatically after Congress refused to extend tax credits children’s monthly federal.

A break for families

In 2021, as the country continued to battle COVID-related illnesses, the Biden administration successfully pushed the American Rescue Plan Act through Congress. The plan included three major changes to the child tax credit:

  • Expanded eligibility to include families earning little or no income.
  • Increase in credit amounts from $2,000 per child annually to $3,600 per child under age 6 and $3,000 per child age 6 to 17.
  • A provision that allowed families to receive half of the credit as an advanced monthly payment in their Bank account between July and December 2021.

For reasons we’ll get to in a moment, it’s important to note that no Republicans in the Senate or House of Representatives voted in favor of this family support.

Impact of the US bailout

JAMA highlights research conducted by the nonpartisan research group at the Brookings Institution. According to Brookings, the temporary tax credit extension lifted 3.7 million children out of poverty in December 2021.

Brookings found that expanding the Child Tax Credit significantly improved food security and also supported healthy eating. In addition, families were better equipped to combat pandemic-related inflation.

According to the Brookings Institution, there were other benefits associated with expanding the Child Tax Credit, including:

  • A drop in credit card debt, as families no longer need to pull out plastic to pay for necessities.
  • Fewer families relied on payday loans and pawnbrokers to get by.
  • Fewer parents had to sell blood plasma to earn money.
  • Some families have been able to start or build a emergency fund.
  • There has been a significant drop in the number of evictions.
  • Non-white households — including blacks and Hispanics — had funds available to cover child care and education costs.

In other words, life just got easier for over 35 million American households with children.

Then it’s over

When President Biden first proposed expanding the Child Tax Credit, he wanted it to continue until 2025. This would give families time to get back on their feet financially. Instead, the program was only due to run between July and December 2021.

After the monthly child tax credit installments ended, Democrats in Congress failed to get any of their fellow Republicans across the aisle to vote for an extension.

JAMA reports that after the first missed payment, food insecurity immediately increased. And in July, there was an almost 25% increase in the number of families without enough food. The most affected are low-income, single-adult, black, Hispanic and Indigenous households.

The JAMA article recommended: “The results of this study suggest that there was an increase in food insufficiency among households with children after they stopped receiving monthly child tax credit payments. children. lifetime, Congress should consider prompt action to reinstate this policy.”

To advance

Despite recommendations from health officials, hunger advocates, racial justice organizations and civil rights groups, it looks like the House of Representatives will return to Republican hands. Unless several representatives break with their party to support the reinstatement of the program, millions of families will continue to struggle to put food on the table.

If you would like to see the return of child tax credit payments, this link will help you connect with your elected officials.

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