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Letter: Congress, work now to expand Child Tax Credit

When the CTC payments started in July of 2021, food insecurity for families with children dropped by 26% (after just one payment!). Over the following six months, child poverty dropped by 40 percent. Families ate healthier and the use of payday loans dropped.

Letter to the editor FSA
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In 2021, Congress enacted historic legislation that cut child poverty by 40%. Congress expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) by increasing the credit for low- and moderate-income families and sending it as monthly payments. Importantly, for the first time the CTC was fully refundable so that 27 million children in families with no- or low-income got the full value of the credit.

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

But the Senate refused to extend the changes past one year. As a result, the child poverty rate increased 41 percent 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 at food shelves has risen, while supplies have fallen. Executive Director Stacie Loegering of the Emergency Food Pantry in Fargo reports that she has to place orders for food three months in advance. “Is it a crisis?”, she asks. “It could be,” she said, adding that hunger affects one in six North Dakotans. (7/20/22)

It is likely that Congress will pursue a bipartisan tax bill at the end of this year. Let’s ask our members of Congress to support a new expansion of the Child Tax Credit and reduce child poverty once again. The CTC effectively lifted millions out of poverty when it was in effect. I ask Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Kevin Cramer, and Rep. Kelly Armstrong to support the CTC so families in North Dakota and throughout our nation can afford to feed their children.

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