Category Archives: Child Tax Credit

Take Action: Congress Keep Your Promise

Watch the Congress, Keep Your Promise webinar!

Watch the Congress, Keep Your Promise! webinar and share it with friends. Justice-seekers across race, place, and faiths must demand that Congress commits to the budget agreements they made in the spring and protect SNAP, WIC, and other human services programs.

Webinar Q & A

During the webinar, questions were asked that we were unable to answer at that time. See them, and their answers, below.

With only 11 days until the shutdown, what is the best way justice-seekers can help?
Moderate House Republicans are the key to moving forward. If your House Representative leans moderate, give them a call and encourage them to pass a budget that funds programs that support our communities – to keep the promise they made when they voted for the bill that raised the debt ceiling. 

You can also raise the public profile of this issue by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper. See our guidance for LTE writers (including a video and training slides).

Can you give us a link to the Child Tax Credit study? 
The Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University has a number of great publications on the Child Tax Credit. You can access them here. 

Can you please say more about the work-reporting requirements and how/whom they serve or disadvantage?
For more information about work-reporting requirements, check out our one-pager here. 

What do states lose if they opt-out of the SNAP lifetime ban re: drug felons?
SNAP is an entitlement program, which means that there’s automatic funding for everyone eligible. There is no cost to states for waiving the ban.  

Coming Soon: Call Congress on Tuesday, September 26

Blogs
NETWORK Advocates Share CTC Testimonials

Many families with young children that I know, including my own, live paycheck-to-paycheck, and the significant inflation that we are facing has caused many of us to deplete our savings and increasingly rely on credit cards to get us through the month. With interest rates as high as they currently are, this is digging us into a deeper financial hole. An expansion of the Child Tax Credit could help us avoid using credit at a time when financial experts advise us to do so.Natalie M., Shaker Heights, OH

“[The CTC] will allow my children the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities and expose them to new experiences and friends, promoting the growth of their whole self.” Ivelisse C., Cleveland OH

“I have nieces in Ohio who are struggling to make ends meet to feed and clothe their children and also to afford daycare so they can get a job. The Child Tax Credit helped them before and it can help them again!” Sr. Joyce K., CPPS, Dayton, OH

“Several of my church families along with others in the community are struggling to make ends meet and to provide for their children. Some are looking at the loss of homes and eviction. The expanded Child Tax Credit will help to minimize theses effects of inflation and low paying work situations.” Rev. Karen B., Jeffersonville, IN

Keep Up with NETWORK

Just Politics Catholic Podcast Season One
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End the Black Maternal Health Care Crisis Now

Losing Our Mothers in the Black Maternal Health Crisis

Partner Blog: Losing Our Mothers in the Black Maternal Health Crisis

Alaina Ruffin
September 11, 2023

End the Black Maternal Health Care Crisis NowMore than four months have passed since the sudden death of track and field champion Tori Bowie after prematurely going into labor. This weekend would have been her 33rd birthday and also marks Women’s Equality Day, which recognizes the 103rd anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. While women’s rights have certainly advanced since then, inequities against historically vulnerable communities persist — including within the medical field. For the ongoing health crisis faced by Black birthing people, every day poses a new risk of health complications or even death.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the maternal mortality rate for Black women in 2021 was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, nearly tripling the rate compared to white women. Regardless of education, income, or social status, this striking disparity is experienced by Black birthing people of all backgrounds. Tori Bowie, Serena Williamsand Keisha Knight Pulliam are just a few of the Black women who have experienced the effects of this devastating crisis, and there are countless others. The disproportionate number of Black people affected, as compared to other communities, is exactly what makes this a crisis — and these continued deaths loom as a stark reminder of medical racism’s continued effects on Black birthing people and the state of our health care system overall.

The Black maternal health crisis has a long and gruesome history in the United States. From rampant sexual assault and violence, including rape and forced sterilization, to issues like over-criminalization and over policing negatively impacting maternal healthimplicit bias permeates the medical realm — and Black birthing people often bear the heaviest burdens. As described by the Women’s Leadership and Resource Center at the University of Illinois Chicago, many social, political, and economic conditions affect Black birthing people’s reproductive lives — including systemic issues like poverty, substance abuse, and mental illness — and ultimately interfere with their rights both to have and to not have children.

According to the CDC’s largest, most recent data compilation, 84 percent of pregnancy-related deaths were deemed to be preventableThis statistic is even more alarming when considering how often health care professionals neglect to take a Black patient’s pain or medical concerns seriously. In fact, the United Nations announced in a report this past July that the United States has the starkest disparity in maternal mortality rates between Black women and white women. While the report examined nine countries across North and South America, one of its main takeaways was that Black birthing people are systematically neglected and mistreated across the countries studied, which ultimately causes pregnancy complications and delayed interventions — often leading to death. These findings ultimately reinforce how medical racism and misogynoir have very real, harmful impacts on Black birthing people not just in our nation, but across the globe.

Unfortunately, disproportionate maternal mortality rates aren’t the only threats to Black maternal health. In the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned last year, moves from states to restrict or outright ban abortion have already had dangerous impacts on Black birthing people. For instance, forced pregnancies in states where abortion is illegal or inaccessible place a heavy strain on historically vulnerable communities — including Black, Latina, and low-income people — that ultimately jeopardizes their physical, emotionaland financial well-being. For Black birthing people who already face barriers to reproductive and gynecological servicesthe inaccessibility of potentially lifesaving resources poses another threat. That’s why our coalition continues to advocate for passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation that seeks to counter state-level abortion bans and restrictions.

Legislators in recent years have worked to protect the rights and health of Black birthing people and propose policy solutions for the crisis. Rep. Lauren Underwood’s 2021 Momnibus Acta package of legislation aimed to address the maternal health crisis from an inter-agency approach, is one of the current proposals to confront virtually every dimension of the issue. In 2019, Rep. Underwood founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus with Rep. Alma Adams. Before becoming the youngest Black woman to ever serve in Congress, Underwood worked as a registered nurse and previously worked at the Department of Health and Human Services. The Momnibus Act was reintroduced this year by Underwood and Sen. Cory Booker and aims to reduce health disparities in medicine — and also in the workforce and in our nation’s carceral systems.

A number of organizations, including some of The Leadership Conference’s coalition partners, are working to address and ameliorate the crisis. The National Partnership for Women & Families, for example, has worked on an array of maternal health equity initiatives — including recently releasing a roadmap dedicated to improving maternal health outcomes and compiling resources. Another is In Our Own Voice, an organization specifically dedicated to achieving reproductive justice for Black women and improving Black maternal health through policy solutions. Various other coalition partners have dedicated themselves to advancing a vision of economic justice that will lead to better health and economic outcomes, including advocating for passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, permanent expansion of the Child Tax Credit, and other policies designed to provide holistic support to families.

In addition, The Leadership Conference Education Fund’s data equity work helps to ensure that we are able to collect data disaggregated by race and ethnicity so that we can identify these and other inequities and work to remedy them.

As we remember Tori Bowie and honor her life on what would have been her 33rd birthday, we must continue to combat the Black maternal health crisis by protecting Black birthing people and creating policies that eliminate outdated medical misinformation and build safer, healthier, and more supportive environments for birthing people — especially those from historically vulnerable communities — to live and thrive.

This blog appears courtesy of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights where the author, Alaina Ruffin, was a summer 2023 undergraduate intern.

A Moral Budget Will Cultivate Thriving Communities

A Moral Budget Will Bring Thriving Communities

JoAnn Goedert, Ignatian Volunteer Corp Member
Government Relations Special Contributor
April 5, 2023

Our federal budget can reveal the respect and care we have for each other. As Mary Novak, NETWORK Lobby’s Executive Director, reminds us, “Budgets are moral documents; how we tax and how we spend reveals a set of moral choices.” President Biden has delivered a hopeful and optimistic vision for the country in his Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Budget. With few exceptions, President Biden’s budget embodies moral choices, and sets legislative goals, that can advance NETWORK’s Build Anew agenda. A moral budget will cultivate thriving communities nationwide. 

Build Anew can bring us to an inclusive, multiracial, and multi-faith democracy. The transformative policy agenda envisions basic economic security, education, criminal justice, health care, and more — for everyone, no exceptions. Build Anew calls for all of us to have the freedoms and resources we need to live thriving lives. This requires policies and programs that ensure the wages and work conditions that American workers need to pay their bills, enjoy family life, and retire with dignity. Too often, wealthy corporations choose not to pay workers for the true value of their work and refuse to pay our country what they truly owe in taxes. In his budget, President Biden commits to offer workers and their families the tools they need to thrive and to finally make wealthy people and corporations pay what they truly owe through taxes. 

Read on to see where NETWORK’s Build Anew policy agenda is present in President Biden’s budget to see why we are confident a moral budget will bring thriving communities

CRITICAL INVESTMENTS IN FAMILIES, CHILDREN, AND COMMUNITIES 

President Biden’s budget boldly includes critical human investments that the NETWORK community has long advocated to help individuals, families, and children achieve economic security and thrive.   

Expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) 

Millions of families were struggling to make ends meet  when the American Rescue Plan was passed and expanded the CTC, allowing millions of parents to achieve financial stability and care for their children. That provision alone cut child poverty in half in 2021, to the lowest level in history. The expanded CTC: 1) increased benefit levels, particularly for young children; 2) expanded access to reach children in families with the lowest incomes who were formerlyleft out; and 3) paid benefits in monthly installments.   

The expanded CTC has expired, and bringing it back is a moral and an economic imperative NETWORK is heartened to see that it is a key element in the Biden Budget.  

Permanently Expands the Earned Income Tax Credit 

The FY24 budget also calls on Congress to permanently expand the EITC for childless workers. The expanded EITC was part of the American Rescue Plan and has expired. This provision helped younger workers and older workers without children and who did not previously qualify for the credit to emerge from poverty. The expansions ensured no low-wage workers were taxed into poverty. Permanently expanding the EITC and the improvements in the Child Tax Credit are two priorities this year.  

Paid Family and Sick Leave 

President Biden’s budget proposes a national paid family and medical leave program that would at last provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave for workers.  The budget also calls on Congress to pass legislation requiring employers to provide seven paid sick days to all workers. 

IMPROVED ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE

The president’s budget includes a range of proposals to improve access to high-quality, affordable health care, some of which have been integral elements of the Build Anew agenda:

Funding to Improve Black Maternal Health

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations, and rates are disproportionately high for Black women. A Black maternal health crisis has left black women three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than white women. It doesn’t have to be this way–more than half of these deaths are preventable! We know what we need to do so that more Black mothers and their babies can thrive. The 2021 Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act offered a comprehensive roadmap for addressing the racial inequities that underlie this health crisis. NETWORK lobbied vigorously for this bill, but it failed to pass in the last Congress. We are pleased to see that the president’s FY24 budget includes $471 million to expand maternal health initiatives and requires all states to provide continuous Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum, eliminating gaps in health insurance at a critical time.

Permanent Affordable Care Act (ACA) Premium Reductions and Expansion to Medicaid

The budget builds on the remarkable success of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), by making permanent the average $800 per year premium cuts through expanded premium tax credits that the Inflation Reduction Act extended. It also provides Medicaid-like coverage to individuals in states that have not adopted Medicaid expansion under the ACA, paired with financial incentives to ensure states maintain their existing expansions.

The FY24 budget invests $150 billion over 10 years to improve and expand Medicaid’s home and community-based services which would allow older Americans and individuals with disabilities to remain in their homes and stay active in their communities as well as improve the quality of jobs for home care workers.

The budget also shores up funding for community health centers—which provide comprehensive services regardless of ability to pay, and which serve one in three people living in poverty and one in five rural residents.

Reduced Prescription Drug Costs

The budget calls for strengthening the newly established drug negotiation power in Medicare by extending it to more drugs and bringing drugs into negotiation sooner after they launch.  And there’s a proposal to limit Medicare Part D cost-sharing for high-value generic drugs used for certain chronic conditions like hypertension and high cholesterol to no more than $2.

Saving Medicare for the Future

President Biden’s budget will ensure Medicare is fully funded until at least 2050. It does this by increasing the Medicare tax rate on investment income above $400,000 to 5% from 3.8%, by closing a tax loophole that lets some wealthy business owners avoid this tax, and by expanding Medicare’s ability to negotiate prescription drug prices. Not a penny in benefits will be cut.

EXPANDED ACCESS TO FOOD, HOUSING, AND EDUCATION FOR MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES

The Build Anew agenda recognizes that, before marginalized individuals, families and communities can thrive, adequate food, housing, and educational opportunities are essential. The FY24 budget shares that recognition and proposes important steps to expand access in these critical areas:

Full Funding of Maternal and Child Nutrition Programs

The Biden Budget includes $6.3 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and provides over $15 billion for States and local schools to expand free school meals to an additional 9 million children.

Housing

The Budget includes $59 billion in mandatory funding and tax incentives to incentivize local governments to address the critical shortage of affordable housing in communities throughout the country. By expanding the supply of housing, the budget would help curb cost growth across the broader housing market.

In the budget, the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program expands the current capacity of 2.3 million low-income families with rental assistance to obtain housing in the private market. The budget provides $32.7 billion to maintain services for all currently assisted families and expand assistance to an additional 50,000 households, particularly those who are experiencing homelessness or fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, or other forms of gender-based violence.

Protecting Foster Care Kids and Veterans

To further ensure that more households have access to safe and affordable housing, the budget includes mandatory funding to support two populations that are particularly vulnerable to homelessness—youth aging out of foster care and extremely low-income (ELI) veterans. The budget provides $9 billion to establish a housing voucher program for the  20,000 youth aging out of foster care annually and $13 billion to incrementally expand rental assistance for 450,000 ELI veteran families, paving a path to guaranteed assistance for all who have served the Nation and are in need.

Improved Access to Education for Low Income Students

The budget increases Title I funding to schools in low-income communities by $2.2 billion and increases Pell Grants by $500. It also offers funding to expand free community college and two years of subsidized tuition to low- and middle-income students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority-serving institutions.

Funding for Workforce Training for Good Jobs

The Biden budget proposes an investment of over $600 million in training programs, especially for workers of color, women, and those living in rural areas, targeted at good-paying jobs in high demand industries and professions.

PROTECTING DEMOCRACY AND THE FREEDOM TO VOTE

As NETWORK advocates for the common good, we know that economics alone will not assure that communities, families, and children can flourish. At the foundation of the Build Anew Agenda is the understanding that all of us, regardless of our race or class, must have a secure right to vote and to be safe in our homes and communities, and to thrive with dignity.

Democracy

The assault on our democracy continues with former President Trump’s “Big Lie” about 2020 election results continuing to manifest itself in the degradation of confidence in and security of our elections processes. NETWORK is pleased to see that the budget proposes $5 billion in new election administration and Civil Rights Division oversight funding to be allocated over 10 years. This investment would assure that poll workers and elections authorities have the proper resources to aid in strengthening election integrity and security until Congress can pass robust voting rights and election security legislations, like the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Criminal Justice Advancement

Unfortunately, the budget seeks to revive ineffective 1990s policies by calling for the funding of 100,000 new police officers among other unbridled funding without specific accountability measures. Yet, we are thankful for the $5 billion over 10 years for community violence interventions, $409 billion allotted for key investments furthering First Step Act implementation, and the Board of Prisons and Department of Labor collaboration for training and other programs for citizens returning from federal prisons. Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities across our country continue to be plagued by police abuse and violence. Too often, interactions with law enforcement result in harm or death–often when the victim is unarmed or running away. The deaths of George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Tyre Nichols, Breonna Taylor and many others murder because of racial violence in God’s beloved community, must be mitigated by evidence-informed interventions to keep all people safe and reduce our reliance on the criminal-legal system. Data-driven community policing and safety solutions must be codified into federal law by Congress.

MAKING THE WEALTHY PAY WHAT THEY OWE

All of us agree that contributions made into our shared economy should be equitable. For too long, politicians have allowed wealthy people and businesses to pay less than what they owe in taxes, and at the same time, they’ve shamed people working low wage jobs for being a drain on the United States. When billionaires enjoy relatively no tax burden, but middle-class and working-class Americans pay what they owe into our shared economy, that is the true drain on taxpayers – that is economic injustice!

The Biden budget includes calls for the wealthiest U.S. individuals and corporations to finally pay their fair share, while ensuring that no on making less than $400,000 a year will pay more in taxes. In a series of proposals, the budget would institute a minimum tax on billionaires, raise the corporate tax rate and end offshore tax breaks, repeal the Trump tax cuts that provides windfalls to the top one percent, and cut wasteful federal spending on Big Oil, Big Pharma and other wealthy special interests.  This stands in sharp contrast to MAGA Republicans in the House and Senate that have proposed to slap a 30% national sales tax on everything Americans buy, from groceries to healthcare to cars.

Biden’s budget also prioritizes tax enforcement resources to keep watch on rich and corporate tax cheats. To be clear, those who shirk their responsibility to our shared economy by evading hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes they owe every year. Republicans have voted to slash that funding to give rich tax cheaters a free ride. The resulting loss of revenue will actually increase the deficit by more than $100 billion.

NETWORK CAUTIONS AGAINST UNWARRANTED SPENDING

Unfortunately, the FY24 budget proposes increases in wasteful military spending, as well as additional funding on immigration enforcement, expanding militarization of the border that offers no solution to the situation there and can only compound the suffering of migrants seeking a safer, better life in the U.S.

Such measures fly in the face of both the Biden Administration stated vision for our country and NETWORK’s Build Anew agenda.

THE OPPOSITION TO BIDEN’S BUDGET  

Following President Biden’s State of the Union speech in February 2023, the House Budget Committee was quick to announce a series of drastic cuts to fundamental economic security programs that provide a lifeline for our families, children, and marginalized communities.  The GOP proposal would target basic food assistance, including SNAP, affordable health care, student loans, migrant legal services, and projects that protect the environment and reduce the impact of climate change. In the name of deficit reduction, these proposals may well make the thriving lives that Build Anew calls for an impossibility.

Not surprisingly, the MAGA Republicans reacted to the Biden budget with words of contempt, a vow to prevent its enactment, and redoubled calls for deep cuts to essential poverty prevention programs and environmental protections.  At the same time, they have begun maneuvers to continue the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy. 

Friends, the choice is clear for justice-seekers: we must act to reject House MAGA Republican initiatives that will deprive people of the ability to earn a wage that supports a thriving life, ensures health care that is affordable and accessible, and allows families to climb out of poverty.

We are working for a country where children have enough food to eat, our homes are , and everyone can afford life-saving prescriptions.

We know what our communities need to thrive, and we have the faith and love to advocate for our neighbors, and we have the strength to advocate for what we need, because we are seeking justice together!NETWORK staff and supporters have helped families thrive before by advocating for the expanded CTC and access to affordable housing, food, and other initiatives to advance the Build Anew agenda. We must work together again, through your advocacy and our lobbying, so that children, and their parents, guardians, and communities have the support they need.

Join the Thriving Communities

 

 

 

Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut speaks at a Dec. 15 press conference urging Congress to pass the Child Tax Credit.

Champion For Families: In Conversation With Rosa DeLauro

Champion For Families: In Conversation With Rosa DeLauro

NETWORK Staff
December 15, 2022
Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut speaks at a Dec. 15 press conference urging Congress to pass the Child Tax Credit.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut speaks at a Dec. 15 press conference urging Congress to pass the Child Tax Credit.

Numerous champions for Catholic Social Justice have walked the Halls of Congress since NETWORK’s founding 50 years ago, but when it comes to advocacy on behalf of families, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who has served in the House since 1991, is both peerless and tireless.

As chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, the Congresswoman is currently leading the push to get the Child Tax Credit (CTC) included with the legislation Congress must pass before the end of this session. On a recent episode of NETWORK’s podcast, Just Politics, she explained why the CTC makes such a difference in the lives of families.

The following is an excerpt of that conversation:

NETWORK: Your background is in labor organizing, and you experienced poverty early on in your life. How do these experiences shape the work that you do as a member of Congress?

Rep. DeLauro: What has had the most effect on who I am, what I’m about, and what issues I take up has to do with being brought up in an Italian Catholic family, with a mother who was a union member and a garment worker in an old sweat shop in New Haven. She used to have me meet her there every day after school. It was a dark, noisy, dirty place, with women hunched over sewing machines. They never took a lunch break. They worked as fast as they could because you got paid by the number of dresses or shirt collars that you made. Oftentimes you would get the needle in your finger, but you never went to a clinic or got a tetanus shot, you just wrapped up your hand and kept going because you had to produce in order to provide for your family. I didn’t realize until I was an adult that my mom had been showing me what the circumstances were for mostly immigrant women. So my work on workplace safety, minimum wage, and equal pay for equal work draws from that experience.

And, we were evicted when I was 9 or 10 years old—finding our possessions on the street because my parents had a tough time financially. We wound up having to live with my grandmother until we could get back up on our feet again. My parents would tell me, “Get an education, so that you don’t have to do this.” Coming from an immigrant family who believes education is the root to success, I want to make sure that we are funding education because it is the great equalizer for families.

All of these experiences propel me to work on the issues you talk about. Union organizing, equal pay, living wage, a child tax credit… that work doesn’t come from just sitting in this institution for all these years. It comes directly out of my and my family’s experience, which has been my guidepost.


NETWORK: You mentioned the Child Tax Credit, which you were able to get into the American Rescue Plan. We know that the CTC lifted 2.1 million children out of poverty in 2021. What pro-family policies are you currently working to get into Appropriations now?

Rep. DeLauro: We are not done with the CTC. It has been a lifeline for working, middle class, and vulnerable families. Some people demeaned these families by saying they wouldn’t go to work if they got a child tax credit, or that they would spend the money foolishly. But what did they spend it on? Food, clothing, diapers, childcare so that they could go to work, mortgage payments, and rent payments. Now, we need to continue to fight for the CTC.

$1.3 trillion every single year goes through the various Appropriations subcommittees. There is so much contained within Appropriations bills that has a direct effect on children, families, and workers. Title I, special education, early childhood, childcare, health, nutrition, broadband, technical schools, worker training, apprenticeships, mental health… all of these are within the Appropriations Committee purview, and they’ve had years of disinvestment. So that’s where I focus my time and attention. Our job is to make this government work for people.

With cost of living today, people are struggling, living paycheck to paycheck. During the pandemic, we saw women being pushed out of the workforce. Childcare was collapsing. These things are all integrated. It is our obligation—our moral responsibility—to address these issues so that we can have a safe and secure future.


NETWORK: You understand the intersection of labor issues and women’s issues better than just about anyone. Here at NETWORK Lobby, we strongly support a national family and medical leave program that provides comprehensive leave with progressive wage replacement, job protection for all workers, and more inclusive definitions of family. Can you tell us what might the future hold for something like paid family leave?

Rep. DeLauro: No one decides to get sick, either themselves or their family. You’re then faced with the choice of your family, your own health, or your job. I learned about family and medical leave from my work with Senator Chris Dodd. Though we could not at the time get it to be paid leave, it has been tremendously helpful. However, many cannot take advantage of it because they can’t be without wages.

To tell you my own two stories, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1986. I said to my then-boss, Sen. Dodd, “I’m going to the hospital.” I did not even know if I would ever return. He said to me, “Go get well, the job is here, your salary is here.” We had three kids and we were paying for their school. And two and a half months later, I went back to work and never missed a paycheck. Fast forward to 5 years ago, my mother was very ill at 103 years old, and I spent the last six weeks of her life with her. Nobody said, “You’re no longer a member of Congress.” Now if this is good enough for a staff member of an enlightened U.S. Senator, or the institution which I now serve, then it’s good for everybody else in this country. I introduced paid family and medical leave in 2013. We have made some progress on it, but we’re not there yet. We are going to continue to move!


NETWORK: You wrote a book about how these issues relate to your Catholic faith, called The Least Among Us: Waging the Battle of the Vulnerable.” What do you wish more people of faith understood about what the Gospel demands of us in the work for social justice?

Rep. DeLauro: This is so, so important to me. The rich Catholic heritage is grounded in social justice and economic justice. Leo XIII didn’t call it “social security;” he said that we have an obligation and a responsibility to take care of older people.

I was at Pope Francis’ inauguration, and he said that those of us who serve in public life have an obligation to be like Saint Joseph—to take care of family, to be inclusive, to look out for one another. I stood in St. Peter’s square with my colleague Rep. Anna Eshoo, and we were crying, because we have waited so long to hear those words. It’s who we are. It’s the ground that we stand on.

Everything that we do here impacts the wellbeing of people, and that is a responsibility. I end my book by recalling Robert Kennedy’s call to action, which is the way I feel about my faith in government. In Robert Kennedy’s words, “I believe that as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress.” I dream of an American future where all agree that anyone’s poverty is all of our business.

We have to continue to spread the word. I look forward to many more years of being an ally with you!

From NETWORK: Write a Letter to the Editor Supporting the Child Tax Credit

Take Action to End Child Poverty with the Child Tax Credit

Watch the #CTCNow press conference and share it with friends. Scroll for call-in and Tweet details to take action to end child poverty with the Child Tax Credit.

Child Poverty is a Policy Choice

2021’s expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) lifted a historic number of kids out of poverty. It is poor policy, and morally repugnant, to extend tax breaks for corporations without also enacting robust expansion of the CTC. Congress must pass a fully refundable, monthly Child Tax Credit before the New Year.

Call the Senate: 1-888-738-3058!

Submit the Tweet below.

Call Your Senators NOW: 888-738-3058! *Dial twice to reach both of your Senators* 
Tell them no tax breaks for corporations without including the Child Tax Credit.
When you call, here’s what you might say:

“Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] from [YOUR TOWN]. As your constituent and a member of NETWORK, I ask you to support the expansion of the Child Tax Credit in any end of the year tax package. This is urgent. Millions of children who were lifted out of poverty by the expanded credit are now living in poverty again. This is a moral outrage. Will the Senator support passing the expanded Child Tax Credit before the end of the year?

After you call, send a tweet, too! Use the form below to direct a tweet to Congress.

Resources to support you when you take action to end child poverty.

Blogs
Talking Points
  • Last December, Congress allowed the expanded credit to expire, pushing nearly 4 million children back into poverty.
  • Census Bureau surveys found that 91 percent of low-income families—those with incomes below $35,000—used their monthly CTC payments to cover the cost of basic necessities such as food, housing, utilities, clothing, and education
  • Critics charge that the extended CTC is too generous. Some claim it reduces the incentive to work. They are wrong! Data conclusively shows that the CTC did not precipitate workforce reductions. Ironically, many parents who thrived in the workforce when the CTC was in place have left jobs since it expired.
  • The expanded CTC was an anti-poverty program AND a middle-class stabilization tool. Payments were a crucial financial lifeline to millions of families across the country; a wide range of families across income levels, racial and ethnic groups, and education levels received and benefited from these payments in 2021. Middle-income families, white families, and those without a college degree made up larger shares of recipients than low-income families, families of color, and those with a college degree.
Advocate’s CTC Testimonials

Many families with young children that I know, including my own, live paycheck-to-paycheck, and the significant inflation that we are facing has caused many of us to deplete our savings and increasingly rely on credit cards to get us through the month. With interest rates as high as they currently are, this is digging us into a deeper financial hole. An expansion of the Child Tax Credit could help us avoid using credit at a time when financial experts advise us to do so.Natalie M., Shaker Heights, OH

“[The CTC] will allow my children the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities and expose them to new experiences and friends, promoting the growth of their whole self.” Ivelisse C., Cleveland OH

“I have nieces in Ohio who are struggling to make ends meet to feed and clothe their children and also to afford daycare so they can get a job. The Child Tax Credit helped them before and it can help them again!” Sr. Joyce K., CPPS, Dayton, OH

“Several of my church families along with others in the community are struggling to make ends meet and to provide for their children. Some are looking at the loss of homes and eviction. The expanded Child Tax Credit will help to minimize theses effects of inflation and low paying work situations.” Rev. Karen B., Jeffersonville, IN

Keep Up with NETWORK

Just Politics Catholic Podcast Season One
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Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Show Mercy to Families

NETWORK Lobby offers Advent reflections

Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Show Mercy to Families

Colin Martinez Longmore
November 28, 2022

Reflection:

The iconic image that so many people associate with Advent is the Holy Family – the baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, usually huddled in a stable and surrounded by livestock.

It’s not an auspicious start for the Son of the living God. A family that has no place to stay and barely any resources to get by is something we still associate with the margins of society. It’s clear that God wants to associate with humility and poverty.

But what happens next matters. In the Gospel infancy narratives – and our Christmas holiday traditions – we see people respond to this vulnerable family with effusive displays of mercy. The shepherds come to praise him. The magi arrive with their gifts. This is how they respond to a child born into poverty.

The Corporal Works of Mercy, understood by Catholics, are: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned, give alms to the poor, and bury the dead. The visit of the magi brought with it not only material assistance (gold), but resources used in the care of the sick (frankincense) and the dead (myrrh). The mercy of strangers helped the Holy Family to survive on their perilous journey during the infancy of Jesus.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus invokes a similar set of criteria for those who will join him in paradise. “For you saw me hungry and you fed me.” “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” It is by participation in these concrete acts of mercy that we believe we too shall be shown mercy. And as Jesus points out, it in doing these acts of mercy that we directly encounter and come to know him, our Savior.

As Christians gather around manger displays in anticipation of another Christmas, it’s still good to reflect on how struggling families are getting by today. As with the Holy Family, it may still require the extraordinary intervention of personal strangers. Except instead of songs of praise and expensive gifts, we can offer acts of mercy through political action.

The Child Tax Credit, which was expanded in both size and scope for only one year as part of the American Rescue Plan, lifted 2.1 million children out of poverty in 2021. It stabilized the finances of more than 36 million families, including 62 million children, and resulted in 716,000 fewer Black children and 1.2 million fewer Latino children in poverty. Now NETWORK is pushing to get the Child Tax Credit once again included in the end-of-year tax package, but we need your help.

Call to Action:

You can take action to help support the Child Tax Credit by calling your Senators. Tell them that Congress has an incredible chance to drastically reduce child poverty by ensuring the Child Tax Credit makes it into the end-of-year tax package, and you expect them to act on behalf of the children in your state.

Congress Must Pass a Fully Refundable Child Tax Credit Before the New Year

Congress Must Pass a Fully Refundable Child Tax Credit Before the New Year

Laura Peralta-Schulte, Senior Director of Public Policy and Government Relations
November 16, 2022

As the 117th Congress nears the end of its session, lawmakers are considering a short-term tax extender package to address expiring corporate tax breaks. NETWORK and our faith-based and secular partners believe it is poor policy, and morally repugnant, to extend tax breaks for well-heeled corporations without also enacting robust expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Congress must pass a fully refundable, monthly Child Tax Credit before the New Year.

Trickle-down policies favored by some politicians don’t work to provide low-income families the resources they need to live a dignified life.  In fact, it leads to what Pope Francis has called the “idolatry of money” created by a culture of indifference to the excluded. Lawmakers have already proven that they can take action to substantially reduce child poverty and they must do again.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Child Tax Credit in December of 2021 lapsed in January 2022. The ARP Child Tax Credit significantly reduced child poverty to its lowest level ever. In the months since it ended, NETWORK and our partners have lobbied for legislation that reinstates a fully refundable, monthly Child Tax Credit. Child poverty, as measured by the supplemental poverty measure (SPM), declined to a historically low level of 5.2 percent in 2021—down from 9.7 percent in 2020—according to recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This is powerful testimony to the effectiveness of the expanded Child Tax Credit.

The success of the 2021 expansion showed us that high child poverty rates are a policy choice, not an inevitability. In the congressional lame duck session, policymakers will have the opportunity once again to expand the Child Tax Credit, so that more families get help they need to afford the basics. ~ Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)

Indeed, the expanded CTC provided a lifeline for families as the economy emerged from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Census Bureau surveys found that 91 percent of low-income families—those with incomes below $35,000—used their monthly CTC payments to cover the cost of basic necessities such as food, housing, utilities, clothing, and education to ensure that their children had healthier, stable environments.

The expanded CTC was also responsible for substantial reductions in Black and Hispanic child poverty, reducing the child poverty rate for both demographic groups by 6.3 percentage points. This translates to 716,000 fewer Black children and 1.2 million fewer Hispanic children in poverty, substantially narrowing persistent racial poverty gaps.

More action for the Common Good, Less partisan behavior  

Why would lawmakers refuse to take steps toward ending child poverty with a robust expansion of the CTC when it has a proven track record of success? There should be no partisan debate about the merits of feeding hungry children or keeping families warm in the winter. Why are Republican legislators so keen to extend tax provisions for big business, but cold to the idea of expanding the child tax credit so all families get the credit regardless of income?

Friends, we must let Congress know that serving the common good is more worthy than being a master to corporate greed. With your advocacy,  we can influence Congress to pass a fully refundable, monthly Child Tax Credit. Without our collective moral push, Congress may not prioritize children and families in need before this session ends.

While a few Senate Republicans have voiced support for improving the Child Tax Credit to help some low-income families, none are supportive of making the credit fully refundable. House Republicans launched an attack on the credit before the mid-term elections. They, and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, criticized the ARP Child Tax Credit as being too generous and made false claims that the credit reduced incentives to work. They are wrong! Data conclusively shows that the CTC did not precipitate workforce reductions. Ironically, many parents who thrived in the workforce when the CTC was in place have left jobs since it expired. Without the Child Tax Credit, they couldn’t afford the cost of child care and other essentials.

Congress Must Pass a Fully Refundable Child Tax Credit Before the New Year  

Since checks to the low-income families ended in December of 2021, we have lost ground in the fight to end child poverty. A new study of families whose CTC payments ended on January 15, 2022 published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that food insufficiency increased by approximately 25 percent among families with children from January 2022 to July 2022. This finding is in stark contrast to JAMA’s previous study  that showed a 26% decrease in food insufficiency among families with children in 2021 following implementation of the monthly CTC payments.

It is time to step up our advocacy efforts. We must remind our lawmakers that the choice this December is clear–invest in our most vulnerable families to help end child poverty. Perhaps with your advocacy and NETWORK’s lobbying, we can pressure lawmakers to prioritize ending  child poverty. And remind them of the Christmas story: a child born to young parents struggling in poverty and left out in the cold.