Brown Led Effort To Secure Historic Expansion of Tax Credits for Working Families; Calls for Aiming Higher Than Just Returning to Status Quo
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) helped lead an effort on the Senate floor to call for the permanent expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Expanding these credits will give tax breaks to the families of 92 percent of Ohio’s kids, helping those Ohio families who are hurting amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and putting more money in their pockets amid the current economic downturn.
“These tax credits will make a big difference for families paying for daycare and diapers and school supplies and all the extra expenses that come up when you have children,” said Brown. “We need to make these tax credits permanent, so families have the peace of mind that money is going to be there in the years ahead.”
Poverty harms millions of American children, but also impacts all of us by leading to higher spending on health care, increased rates of crime, reduced rates of education attainment and higher spending on remedial education. The EITC and CTC are critical tools in the tax code to lift workers and families out of poverty.
Brown has led efforts in Congress to expand the EITC and CTC for years, introducing the Working Families Tax Relief Act every Congress since 2013. The language included in Biden’s American Rescue Plan is based, in part, on Brown’s legislation.
The American Rescue Plan nearly tripled the EITC for workers not raising children in the home. It made the CTC fully refundable – meaning all but the wealthiest families get the full value of it – and also boosted the credit from $2,000 to $3,000 ($3,600 for kids 0-5). These critical expansions of the credits will expire after one year; Sen. Brown and his colleagues are fighting to make the expansions permanent.
Brown also introduced the Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2021, which would establish a national goal of reducing child poverty by half in 10 years and require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Census Bureau to annually track the progress toward that goal.
Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be found below:
Thank you to my colleagues Senators Bennet, Booker, and Warnock for coming together today, and for all of their work to deliver this big win on CTC and EITC that will make such a difference in so many Americans’ lives.
This month, we passed the American Rescue Plan to put:
· Shots in people’s arms
· Money in people’s pockets
· Kids back in schools
· Workers in jobs
We aren’t just doing the bare minimum – we’re aiming higher than just returning to the status quo.
The Rescue Plan doesn’t just get stimulus checks to most middle class and working class families – it also delivers big new tax credit expansions that will put more money in the pockets of workers and parents.
We know the status quo wasn’t working for so many families.
Even before this pandemic, hard work wasn’t paying off for millions of workers.
Productivity has gone up, corporate profits have exploded, CEO pay has soared – but wages have been flat for decades.
Meanwhile, the cost of everything is up – particularly the cost of raising kids.
From childcare, to health insurance, to transportation, to trying to put money away for college, a hard day’s work doesn’t begin to cover all these expenses for millions of parents. Even middle class families don’t feel stable.
There’s not much dignity in a job that doesn’t pay the bills, or allow you to raise a family.
Now the pandemic is forcing millions of women out of the paid labor market, and causing more people to rethink how we treat raising children in this country – caregiving is work, and raising a family should be a public good.
That’s why we are expanding the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax credit – these are two of the most important tools we have to make hard work pay off and put money in families’ pockets.
Families will get $3,000 per child, or $3,600 for children under six. And we hope that by this summer, the IRS will have a system set up to distribute those checks monthly – so if families choose that option, they can get $250 or $300 a month.
This will make a big difference for families paying for daycare and diapers and school supplies and all the extra expenses that come up when you have children.
And it would come at a time when families need all the support they can get.
We’re also significantly expanding the EITC for workers without children. Right now, young workers without children can be taxed into poverty. Our bill would fix that.
Hard work should pay off for everyone, whether they’re raising kids or not – and we know that so many people delay starting a family because they feel like they just can’t afford it.
When we invest in workers, when we invest in families, we get a stronger economic recovery, where everyone feels the benefits.
Now we need to make these tax credits permanent, so families have the peace of mind that money is going to be there in the years ahead.
For years, this body has funneled tax breaks to Wall Street and the largest corporations and the richest tiny sliver of people. They make empty promises that the money will trickle down to everyone else.
It never does.
It’s time to change that, and give permanent tax breaks to the people who make this country work.
Again – 92 percent of Ohio kids will see their families get a tax break. Instead of the top 1 percent, we’re getting money to everybody else – to 92 percent of kids.
That’s how we lift kids out of poverty, it’s how we make hard work pay off, and it’s how we create a strong middle class, that everyone has the opportunity to join.
Senator Booker and Senator Bennet and Senator Warnock and I are not giving up on this.
We will keep fighting for parents and workers in Ohio and New Jersey and Colorado and Georgia, and all over the country, to give them the peace of mind that these tax credits will be there for them for years to come .