The 2021 U.S. Census showed that rates of children in poverty declined from 9.7% of the population in 2020 to 5.2% in 2021, a stunning 46% reduction representing 3.4 million children. These reductions are largely attributable to expanded child tax credit benefits implemented by the American Rescue Plan. However, those expired in December and were not extended via the Inflation Reduction Act.
Sen. Mitt Romney has proposed the Family Security Act 2.0 as a legislative fix. It would provide monthly benefits of $350 for each young child (0-5 years) and $250 for those 6-17 years. Some aspects need “tweaking” to ensure equity for those most in need, as the current plan penalizes single parent and very-low-income families compared to two parent and high-income families. Similarly, funding mechanisms should not rob other safety net benefits such as the earned income tax credit.
Accordingly, we urge our Sens. Romney and Lee to help craft an acceptable version of this bill and push it through Congress. We have seen what a child tax credit can do. We must put our money where our mouth is — supporting children and families.