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Stay “woke” and informed on humanitarian policies and issues affecting your neighborhoods and people all around the world. This week’s word is on: Child Tax Credit and ‘Human Infrastructure’. Want to learn more about the importance of advocacy on issues like these? Visit irusa.org/advocacy

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Child Tax Credit and ‘Human Infrastructure’

The Child Tax Credit is considered by many experts to play a substantial role in improving the quality of life of kids and reducing poverty.

Thanks to the passage of the $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan last spring, parents of kids younger than 18 saw a substantial boost in their monthly allotments, with direct checks ranging between $250 and $300 for each child, depending on their exact age.

Now, this popular program could grind to a halt by year’s end because of an impasse on the “human infrastructure” bill, known commonly as Build Back Better (BBB). This expansive legislation proposed by President Joe Biden seeks to strengthen the nation’s social safety net programs.

The legislation, currently at a pared-down price tag between $1.75 trillion and $1.85 trillion (the original proposal was $3.5 trillion), consists of several noteworthy goals and investments toward clean energy, universal pre-kindergarten, home care for elderly residents, affordable housing, tuition aid for students from limited-income households, and expansion of Medicare to provide hearing aids (original proposal also called for including dental and vision services, but they were jettisoned).

The Washington Post reports the child tax credit is estimated to have helped some 35 million households, as it has helped parents cover the costs of food, education, clothing, all of which have seen price hikes due to inflation. And, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated more than 65 million kids stand to benefit from the expanded program.

 If the tax credit in its current form isn’t extended, the program will return to its former, smaller state, possibly putting some of the youngest members of the U.S. population at risk.

On Wednesday, Dec. 15 — which also happens to be the date when what could be the last child tax credit checks are sent if the impasse remains — it was reported that Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, wants the Child Tax Credit removed from the human infrastructure bill. The current BBB legislation allots about $200 billion toward this program.

While Manchin has cited the current rate of inflation, the national debt, and other economic indicators as reasons for reducing the price tag of BBB, his hesitancy on the revamped child tax credit is driven more by a difference of opinion with the great majority of Democrat senators regarding the size and scope of government programs. He has previously called for work requirements for parents participating in the program.

Islamic Relief USA strongly supports programs designed to combat poverty, especially among children. As a supporter of various summer feeding and other child nutrition programs around the country, it is an issue that’s near and dear to the organization.

While costs are certainly a concern and IRUSA isn’t advocating for reckless spending, the threat of children going hungry and not being well positioned to compete in an increasingly complex world is even bigger.

Besides, many economists have said the proposal is unlikely to exacerbate inflation and that it is hugely beneficial, as the programs in the legislation assist in creating a more productive, engaged populace and workforce.

Few opportunities exist where such wide-ranging and effective government programs can be adopted. This is one of them. IRUSA hopes all lawmakers factor in the long-term consequences rather than shorter-term inconveniences when it comes to the tax credit program and other components of BBB.

The children, for one, are depending on it.

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