Letter: Congress, Work Now to Expand Child Tax Credit – Grand Forks Herald

In 2021, Congress enacted landmark legislation that reduced child poverty by 40%. Congress expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) by increasing the credit for low- and middle-income families and sending it out as monthly payments. Importantly, for the first time, the CTC was fully refundable, so 27 million children from low-income or no-income families got the full value of the credit.

As a result, millions of families have been able to make ends meet. When CTC payments started in July 2021, food insecurity for families with children dropped by 26% (after just one payment!). Over the next six months, child poverty fell by 40%. Families ate healthier and the use of payday loans decreased.

But the Senate declined to extend the changes beyond a year. As a result, the child poverty rate increased by 41% the month after the payments ended. Now, with inflation driving up the cost of food, gas and housing, the situation is worse.

We see evidence of hardship here in North Dakota. As a front-page article in the Grand Forks Herald explains, demand for food on food shelves has increased, while supplies have plummeted. Executive director Stacie Loegering of the emergency food pantry in Fargo reports she has to place food orders three months in advance. “Is this a crisis? she asks. “It’s possible,” she said, adding that hunger affects one in six North Dakotas. (07/20/22)

Congress is likely to pursue a bipartisan tax bill later this year. Ask our members of Congress to support further expansion of the child tax credit and reduce child poverty again. The CTC effectively lifted millions of people out of poverty when it was in effect. I ask Senator John Hoeven, Senator Kevin Cramer and Rep. Kelly Armstrong to support the CLC so that families in North Dakota and across the country can afford to feed their children.

Lyle L. Maltby