Michael Bennet U.S. Senator for ColoradoMenu
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Michael believes the economy works best when everyone has an opportunity to contribute to and share in our country’s prosperity. Over the last 50 years, America has continued to thrive as the most innovative, dynamic economy in the world, and Colorado has been at the forefront of our economic leadership. At the same time, the basic American promise—if you work hard, you can get ahead—has eroded for too many people.
Incomes for working people and the middle class have not kept pace with the rising costs of housing, health care, higher education, and childcare. Many of our rural communities have not benefited enough from broader economic growth and job creation. In too many neighborhoods, grinding poverty has limited our children’s opportunities for too long. Every economic policy Michael fights for in the Senate helps address these challenges.
Michael has fought to expand the Child Tax Credit by introducing the American Family Act and the Working Families Tax Relief Act, both of which would help low- and middle-income parents afford the costs of raising a child and significantly reduce child poverty.
In 2017, Michael and his colleague, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), introduced the American Family Act to overhaul the existing Child Tax Credit and make it dramatically more effective for supporting low- and middle-income families with kids and reducing child poverty. After the worst public health crisis in a generation, Michael successfully urged President Biden to expand the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for one year in the pandemic recovery package, known as the American Rescue Plan Act. The expanded credit cut child poverty in the United States nearly in half over six months and provided economic security to tens of millions of families.
Modeled on Michael’s American Family Act, the bill boosted the CTC to $3,000 per child for children ages 6 and older and $3,600 per child for children younger than 6. It also delivered the credit on a monthly basis to help families meet expenses as they arose and made the credit fully refundable so that it no longer excludes an estimated 27 million low-income children, including 350,000 Colorado children, who had been left out of the credit’s full value.More than 60 million children nationwide, including more than 1 million Colorado children, benefited from the CTC monthly payments in 2021. Michael continues to fight to make the expanded and fully refundable Child Tax Credit permanent.
Michael also successfully urged President Biden and the White House to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in the American Rescue Plan. Michael and Senator Brown (D-OH) introduced the Working Families Tax Relief Act in 2019 with 46 Senate cosponsors. The bill’s provisions to improve the EITC for low-paid childless workers became the basis for the one-year EITC expansion in the American Rescue Plan Act. These improvements nearly tripled the maximum credit from about $540 to more than $1,500, reduced the minimum age of eligibility from 25 to 19, and extended credit to older workers.
The bill provided greater economic security to 17 million workers nationwide, including nearly 300,000 in Colorado. Michael is fighting to make the EITC expansion permanent.
Michael believes that Social Security is a rock-solid guarantee that we need to protect for every American. He has introduced bipartisan legislation to help Americans save and retire with dignity. Michael’s retirement legislation would help families cope with unexpected expenses through the retirement system, allow public safety officers to access their retirement savings early without penalty, help spouses of active-duty servicemembers save for retirement, and provide financial stability and needed resources to Americans battling terminal illnesses.
Michael supports smart federal investments in basic research and development that form the building blocks for major technological breakthroughs, as well as upgrading our infrastructure — including roads, bridges, airports, high-speed broadband internet, and public transit. He believes lawmakers should invest in infrastructure for future generations the way their parents and grandparents invested in the roads and bridges we enjoy today. For that reason, he has advocated for a generational investment to build 21st century American infrastructure and create good-paying jobs.
In 2021, Congress passed a historic, bipartisan infrastructure bill, which made an unprecedented investment in Colorado’s roads, bridges, broadband, airports, and public transit, as well as significant investments in our forests and water infrastructure. In addition to funding for hard infrastructure, the bill included funding for several of Michael’s priorities, including high-speed, affordable internet, forest health, orphaned wells, measures to expand financing for carbon capture and protect our electric grid, and resources to prepare our infrastructure for the 21st century threats of climate change, cyber attacks, and extreme weather.
Colorado is facing a housing affordability crisis. Rents and homelessness are on the rise. Our mountain towns cannot fill jobs because workers cannot afford to live in their communities. Some rural communities cannot sustain economic growth due to the shortage of housing. To address the crisis, Michael brought together bipartisan leaders from across the state in local government, higher education, business, and affordable housing to put forward actionable solutions. Michael is also working to help families stay in their homes and introduced the bipartisan Eviction Crisis Act with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), which would create a permanent emergency rental assistance program to reduce preventable evictions and limit the devastation to families when eviction is unavoidable.