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Supporting Families Should Be a Top Government Priority

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Of all the pressing issues on the world stage, one of the most important to American families is the ability to put food on the table, an increasingly expensive task in today’s economy. But the U.S. Senate has an opportunity to pass common-sense legislation to provide much-needed economic relief to Americans while encouraging the formation and growth of families.

The family unit is the backbone of a flourishing society. Therefore, policies that support intact families, marriages, and children are crucial to the development and sustaining a prosperous nation. One such long-standing policy is the child tax credit. First enacted in 1997 as a way to financially support families with children, the child tax credit is a rare government program that encourages both work and marriage.

The program has undergone a number of changes since its original implementation, but the basic function remains – families with children can claim a tax credit when they file their taxes. The credit both alleviates some of the financial burden that comes with having a family and incentivizes Americans to have kids within the bounds of a loving, family unit. It’s a policy that all pro-life and pro-family legislators should champion.

Recently, the child tax credit has made its way into the headlines because Congress is currently negotiating a tax bill that would expand the current limits of the program. Congressman Jason Smith (R-Missouri) and Sen. Ron Wyden’s (D-Oregon) Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act includes a number of provisions meant to help families struggling in this economy, and many of those concern the child tax credit. The bill passed out of the House of Representatives overwhelmingly and is now being debated in the Senate. While its fate is still yet unknown, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) encourages senators to support American families by voting in favor of the bill.

One of the bill’s proposed changes to the tax credit is what’s been dubbed the “lookback provision.” Currently, families must have a minimum yearly income of $2500 in order to apply for the credit. While the bill leaves the minimum income requirement in place, it includes some flexibility as to what year in which that income is earned. Instead of having to use the current tax year’s reported income, the bill would allow parents to use the previous year’s income instead. While some say that this weakens the work requirement, it actually encourages families to spend valuable time with their kids during their most formative months. Many moms choose to leave the workforce during the first year of the child’s life, resulting in a loss of income. This provision would allow them to still be eligible for the child tax credit by claiming the prior year’s income, instead of punishing them for staying home with their newborn.

The bill would also adjust the child tax credit for inflation, rather than it being a flat payment that remains the same every year, regardless of the state of the economy. The tax credit program weakens over time as the rate of inflation increases, but this adjustment would ensure that it remains just as strong in the future as it is right now. As the costs of caring for a family increases, so will the amount of resources that parents can access to help make ends meet.

Part of that adjustment would be a tiered increase in the refundable tax credit for low-income families to $1,800 in 2023, $1,900 in 2024, and to the full amount for all qualifying children in 2025. It would also remove a provision in the current program that effectively penalizes low-income families for having more than one child. Every child should be treated equally, regardless of what kind of salary that their parents make. The improved child tax credit would do just that.

Fewer Americans are forming families every year; many women feel too financially insecure to have children, and young families are struggling under the burden caused by out-of-control inflation. Preserving the nation begins at home, by supporting families, which is why CWALAC endorses the new improvements to the child tax credit. Contact your Senators today and ask them to support this pro-life and pro-family legislation.