NEWS

Congressional delegation hopes to see extension of child tax credit

By ALLIE LEWIS
Posted 11/17/21

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation hopes to see an extension of the expanded childhood tax credit, which as of this week, has dispersed more than $200 million to local parents. 

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NEWS

Congressional delegation hopes to see extension of child tax credit

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Rhode Island’s congressional delegation hopes to see an extension of the expanded childhood tax credit, which as of this week, has dispersed more than $200 million to local parents. 

On Monday, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed, along with Rep. Jim Langevin, came together at the Pastore Youth Center to highlight how much of a difference this fund has made for local families. 

Under the American Rescue Plan, the Child Tax Credit was raised to $3,600 for children under the age of 6, and $3,000 for children from 6 to 17 years old. This year, the credit is also completely refundable. 

This program, according to Whitehouse, will cut child poverty in half and reduce family poverty by a third. About 173,000 children across the state will get this benefit, and $200 million has already gone out. 

“Think about how much of a difference this makes in our economy,” Whitehouse said. “Because these are families who aren’t hoarding it away. These are families who are putting it back in the economy to get the new set of tires, to get the kids ready for school, to do the things families need to do.”

This tax credit for a single parent of three children could mean an additional $10,000 every year, which “is a big step up out of poverty” for someone working full-time at minimum wage. 

These funds help the entire family, according to Reed, and were put into effect “ “with the idea that you build economic strength from the middle out, not the top down.”

“Expanding the Childhood Tax Credit is a major step toward combating childhood poverty,” Reed said. “Here in Rhode Island, it helped lift about 8,000 Rhode Island children above the poverty line.” 

The senator shared his hopes of seeing more families to have access to these funds, and his thanks to President Joe Biden “for prioritizing poverty-reducing missions.” 

“We’ll continue working with the administration,” Reed said, “to ensure that every child has a place to call home, food to eat, the opportunity to get a good education, and a strong foundation to grow in.” 

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation has strongly advocated for an extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit program to be included in Democrats’ pending Build Back Better legislation.

Langevin, who flew back to Washington D.C. later that afternoon, stressed that passing the Build Back Better legislation was going to be his top priority. 

These funds have helped countless families across the nation cover costs of childcare, groceries and other necessities to help make ends meet. 

These funds have helped plenty of local families too, according to Comprehensive Community Action Program Executive Director Joanne McGunagle.

For Cecelia Hernandez and her husband, these funds have made a huge meaningful difference in their family’s life. 

“The Child Tax Credit has helped us immensely,” Hernandez told congressional leaders on Monday, by helping them to buy everything from school supplies and sports equipment, to the gas they need to get the family everywhere they need to go. 

It helps them stay on top of their monthly bills, according to Hernandez, which has been huge considering the rate of inflation. 

“I try not to rely on anything that is not going to be there every month, but it’s kind of hard not to rely on it,” she said. “It became a part of our everyday living cost. It became part of our life.”

The Child Tax Credit has made raising three children, ages 7, 10, and 14, a bit easier during difficult times, according to Hernandez. 

“We work hard, try to raise our children right, try to be as involved as we possibly can, and have our children be as involved as they possibly can,” she said, “because I think that’s important.” 

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