Obviously, the child tax credit is first and foremost on my mind. There are childcare issues that are critically important, there are climate issues, Medicare, Affordable Care Act pieces. These are all important pieces. And from my point [of view] it’s the child tax credit that I want to see extended, and that’s what I will continue to focus on. And from the outset, I’ve been consistent in saying that we could do, I guess to use your expression, a “slimmed-down” [version] but choose to focus on those programs where we can get immediate success and more bang for the buck at the outset, and then move forward on others. You don’t leave anything behind.
I’m going to give you my best example, which is the child tax credit. The child tax credit was introduced in the American Rescue Plan in January. Passed in March. In July, we began monthly payments. And keep in mind that nobody thought that we could do monthly payments. There were so many naysayers. But we did. And from July to December, the latest November numbers were 3.8 million kids lifted out of poverty. You tell me, you have a lot of experience, when ever have we seen a program demonstrate such success in such a short space of time? Therefore, why would we not continue it? Why would it not be a flagship program to move forward on? It has already been a game changer, transformative, making a difference in people’s lives. And people are using it for clothing, for food, for health care, for diapers, for essentials.
The child tax credit expired at the end of last month, and this will be the first month since July that families don’t receive that monthly credit. So how concerned are you about this lapse in monthly payments, particularly given the surge in the omicron variant?
I’m very, very concerned about that. I think with the omicron variant, but also, if we’ve already been lifting people out of poverty, why for heaven’s sakes would we want to throw them back in poverty? Why would we want to pull the rug out from under them? And we would see a dramatic reversal of the success of this program. I can’t say enough times, and as many times that families are already saying, how tough it is going to be after this six months. There are articles already that are out there. We have a day of action coming up this Friday with members and outside groups who are participating and getting the word out.