Congress is working on an economic recovery bill that will make life better for tens of millions of Americans. Included in the current proposals are two critical changes: making the 2021 changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) permanent and expanding the Housing Choice Voucher program. These changes will help those who are now struggling to afford food, rent, childcare, and other basic needs.

Critically, the Rescue Plan ensured that families with low incomes would get the full child tax credit (expressed as full refundability). In the past, extremely low-income Americans were ineligible for full credit. Full refundability needs to be made permanent because it would cut child poverty by more than 40%, raising 4.1 million children above the poverty line, according to research by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). This component makes the overall Child Tax Credit expansion nearly eight times as effective in reducing child poverty as the previous standard.

Here in North Dakota, making the Earned Income Tax Credit temporary expansion permanent would benefit 39,300 residents. The CBPP also estimates that three thousand people in our state were assisted through the temporary housing voucher expansion, 1,000 of whom were people with disabilities.

The need for these expansions is evident. The new Child Tax Credit is already lifting millions of children out of poverty and vouchers keep families housed, healthy, and safe. All that is required now is the political will to act. I urge our members of Congress, Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, and Representative Kelly Armstrong to pass a recovery bill now that makes the 2021 Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit provisions permanent and guarantees multi-year funding for Housing Choice Vouchers. If we care for the future of our nation’s children, we can’t afford not to.

Kathleen Ness, Grand Forks