Congress has a real chance in the Lame Duck session to prevent greater hardship for the 192,000 Oregon children who lost out after a recent expansion of the Child Tax Credit lapsed, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
Last year’s American Rescue Plan Act temporarily expanded the Child Tax Credit, giving millions of low-income families with kids a boost and driving child poverty down to a record low. But Congress allowed the Child Tax Credit expansion to lapse this year, and if it fails to act now, 19 million children across the country risk being pushed into poverty or facing greater hardship. Children from Black, Latino, and American Indian families are disproportionately likely to risk falling behind.
Yet, as Congress considers its priorities for the end-of-year spending package, special interests are pushing for more tax breaks for profitable corporations — even as Oregon families face rising costs. The Oregon Center for Public Policy is urging Oregon’s congressional delegation to put kids and families first, not corporate tax breaks.
“Rising costs have coincided with rising profits for corporations, while families with low incomes struggle to keep up,” said Alejandro Queral, Executive Director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. “Congress must put families first by expanding the Child Tax Credit.”
The Child Tax Credit helps families with children by providing more money in their pocket when they file their taxes. Census Bureau data showed that families with low incomes used the expanded Child Tax Credit to pay for basics, such as housing, food, clothes, and school supplies.
But a flaw in the credit’s design leaves kids in the lowest-income families behind by giving them only a partial credit or no credit at all, even as children in wealthier families receive the full benefit. By correcting this flaw, the American Rescue Plan lifted millions of the poorest children out of poverty.
Poverty and the hardships that come with it, such as unstable housing and hunger, can take a heavy toll on children, such as lower levels of educational attainment and poorer health and reduced incomes in adulthood.
“The success of the 2021 Child Tax Credit expansion showed us that high child poverty rates are a policy choice, not an inevitability,” said Chuck Marr, CBPP’s Vice President for Federal Tax Policy and author the report. “All kids deserve a fair shot at success, no matter their race or parents’ income. The choice before Congress this year is simple: They can act, or they can see millions of children fall back into poverty.”
The Oregon Center for Public Policy (www.www.ocpp.org) is a non-partisan, non-profit institute that does in-depth research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues. The Center’s mission is to achieve economic justice for all Oregonians through research, analysis, and advocacy.
Read the report