Urgent: Mothers say Don’t Cut Child Tax Credit in Reconciliation Bill

Open Letter to Congress and the White House

Dear Member of Congress:

We are writing as mothers and primary caregivers – the ones who do the hard work of raising children. The Child Tax Credit has allowed us to put food on the table for our children everyday. We urge you: do not punish children by weakening the provisions of the Child Tax Credit, especially those that make it fully refundable and available to all families, regardless of income.

We are alarmed at what we are hearing: that the fully refundable part of the Child Tax Credit, along with provisions that it go to families with an ITIN, are under threat.  Let us be clear – those two aspects of the new CTC, above all else, are what has brought the poverty level down, made huge dents in food insecurity, and are the reasons we are working so hard in our communities to get word out.  If Congress weakens those provisions, it will be punishing poor children, punishing those of us who are full time homemakers especially those who have children with severe disabilities, and risks losing the support of the millions of mothers, children and families who have been impacted so far.

The Child Tax Credit has allowed us to put food on the table for our children every day. We urge you: please fight for us!  Please fight to keep the Child Tax Credits fully refundable and payable to families with ITIN.

Children are our priority.

We know you hear from business and industry benefiting from the current spending: $731.75 billion on defense, $27 trillion on the war on terror so far and $0 tax dollars paid by billionaires while so many of our children go without. We know that the US can afford the $350 billion a year to fund a safety net for families, especially low-income families. The US Congress can authorize funding for a permanent Child Tax Credit, make it fully refundable, available to immigrant families and paid to the mother or primary caregiver. It’s a matter of priorities.

The Child Tax Credit must remain fully refundable.

The 2021 expansion of the Child Tax Credit is a milestone in US safety net policy because it is fully refundable and therefore available to all parents. It has the potential to cut child poverty by 40%.

The Jain Family Institute found that limiting the refundability of the Child Tax Credit would increase overall child poverty by 53%, and child poverty among Black children by 83%.

Full refundability of the CTC will also reduce racial disparities. Before the 2021 expansion of the CTC, only 50% of Black and non-white Hispanic/Latinx children were eligible for the CTC, compared to 75% of white and Asian children.

The Child Tax Credit must not be tied to work requirements.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has suggested that the Child Tax Credit be tied to work requirements, revealing a deep bias against those who are unpaid family caregivers. But as mothers and other primary caregivers, we say raising children is work. Mothers, grandmothers, and others doing unpaid caregiving are already working.

According to the Center for Law and Social Policy, attaching work requirements to the expanded CTC would deny it to those people who need it the most. Here are some who would be left out:

  • Workers in the low wage gig economy
  • Children of college student parents
  • Children with disabilities and parents with disabilities
  • Single mothers
  • Parents with infants and toddlers
  • Breastfeeding mothers

According to a recent report only 11.2% of parents with infants and toddlers would change their waged work status because of the CTC. Leah Hamilton, associate professor of social work at Appalachian State, explains:

“Allowing parents, especially mothers, to meet those caretaking requirements is especially important. That support helps families gain better footing, raise their children, and make greater long-term contributions to the economy.”

The same report found that 94% of parents who are currently in waged work plan to continue after receiving the CTC. In fact, 21.3% are currently operating their own business or planning on starting one.

The Child Tax Credit must be paid to the mother or other primary caregiver.

One in three women in the US are victims of domestic violence.  We want the money to be paid to the mother or primary caregiver. That is the best assurance that children will benefit, and that abusers are not given the money and therefore even more power to abuse. 

What are the priorities of the United States?

The US is an outlier in terms of providing benefits to families and children. It spends just 1.5% of its GDP on family benefits—only Turkey and Mexico spend less. It spends 15% of federal spending on defense – 53% of federal discretionary spending – and only 9% on US children.

It is criminal to subsidize the rich through tax cuts and defense contracts—at the expense of our children. As mothers and caregivers, our priority is to feed our children—everyone’s future.

What are the priorities of the United States government?

We look forward to hearing from you, thank you for your consideration.

Care Income Now

To watch videos of caregivers impacted by the Child Tax Credit:

Care Income Now’s letter to President Biden, Vice President Harris and Congress has been endorsed by 70 organizations, including the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, the Women’s March Foundation, the Thomas Merton Center, the Mother’s Outreach Network and over 270 individuals. Sign the letter: bit.ly/CTCSignOn