Video of the Conversation Is Available HERE
Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined PBS Newshour anchor Amna Nawaz in a conversation on reducing child poverty in the United States hosted by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution. Bennet addressed the success of the expanded Child Tax Credit and called on Congress to revive it.
On the success of the expanded Child Tax Credit:
“It’s clear to me that the evidence that we’ve seen for the credit that we actually put in place in the American Rescue Plan during COVID – the evidence is, at a minimum, that it is not disincentivizing people from working. But yesterday, the Dallas Fed came out with a report saying that women that were living in households where there was one unemployed person actually saw an increase in work, which matches my anecdotal impression of what people in Colorado were doing, which was buying a little bit of extra child care so they could stay at work to take care of their kids,” said Bennet.
“What we’ve seen from the studies of the United States’ experience with the Child Tax Credit is a similar thing that we’ve seen in other countries that have similar forms of a child credit. Which is, not surprisingly, parents spend the money on their kids,” said Bennet. “I heard parents who were spending money on child care, as I mentioned earlier, spending money on rent, spending money on school clothes. I had moms who said, ‘this is the first time that I’ve been able to buy school clothes for my kids without not having to forego the rent.’...I remember one [family] in Colorado Springs, in particular, who said she had been able to buy her kid a bike, and with that bicycle, that kid was able to attend after school activities that they would never have been able to attend, because otherwise, she would have been at work with the car and there was no way to get the kid [there]. You can’t calculate what the value of that is.”
“If you talk to moms, in particular, that benefited from this [and] whose kids benefited from this... the one thing they say in common is, ‘you cannot imagine the stress that was relieved from my family not having to deal with this stuff at the end of the month,’ and that goes back again to Roger’s point that it is not enough for us to be building an economy where the economy grows. We need an economy where people feel like they can move their families ahead. And my view is, in the meantime, we desperately need tax policies, like the Child Tax Credit, to bridge us into that future economy,” continued Bennet.
On the potential for a bipartisan compromise:
“I think there is a bipartisan consensus in America – or at least among members of the Congress – that a lot of the Washington consensus over the last forty or fifty years about our economic role in the world is flawed and failed and isn’t going to support us. And that we got to have a set of policies, which you’re now seeing, around infrastructure, around bringing back the semiconductor industry from Southeast Asia, around things like the Inflation Reduction Act, that give me hope that the broader context is one where we’re saying, ‘it’s not just about growth, it’s about whether the growth is creating a situation where people can actually support their families,’” said Bennet. In that context, we can have a discussion with Republicans and Democrats working together that says, ‘what is the most elegant solution to the issue that we’re facing in the short term?’ And the answer to that is the Child Tax Credit. ”
“My job is to make sure that as many of the 19 million children that are being left out of that full benefit are going to receive as much of that benefit as we possibly can do, and I have a very open mind about how we get there,” continued Bennet.The lead proponent of the American Family Act, Bennet secured an expanded, monthly Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan, which benefited 61 million children in America, including 19 million who were previously excluded from the full tax credit, cut childhood poverty nearly in half, and reduced hunger by a quarter among families with kids. As Coloradans continue to face high costs, Bennet is fighting to extend the enhanced CTC. Last year, Bennet successfully rallied his colleagues to not support corporate tax breaks at the end of the year without passing an expanded CTC.