Children’s Defense Fund President and CEO Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson issued the following statement on President Biden’s newly released Build Back Better framework:
“President Biden’s framework brings us one step closer to a historic, essential, and long-overdue investment in our country’s children and families. We’re poised to boost families’ economic stability and reduce racial inequities in income, housing, education, and health care that harm Black and brown children every day. We appreciate the countless child advocates, parents, friends in the White House, and champions in Congress who have fought for decades to bring us to this point.
“However, we cannot compromise when it comes to the well-being of children and youth. Young people are not a special interest, and they’re not a negotiation tactic. Political gamesmanship has resulted in losses we cannot stomach. Until every child has what they need to thrive, even ‘better’ is not yet good enough. Our failure to provide universal paid family leave continues to be a glaring stain on this country’s promise to care for her people, and a permanently expanded and fully inclusive Child Tax Credit is the only end point for such a transformative policy.”
As the text of the legislation is finalized, we respect that the President’s Build Back Better framework represents a hard-fought victory for children and families, with investments that include:
- A one-year extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit and permanent full refundability that will mean families with little or no income will continue to qualify;
- Our country’s first universal preschool mandate and expanded access to affordable, high-quality child care;
- Rental assistance that will stabilize hundreds of thousands of households and funding to preserve affordable homes;
- Health coverage for up to 4 million uninsured people who had been left behind by their state’s Medicaid programs; and
- Free school meals for an additional 9 million children and summer nutrition assistance for 29 million children.
The Children’s Defense Fund will continue to fight alongside our partners for permanent and robust programs and policies that are inclusive of all families, regardless of race, zip code, or immigration status. These must include:
- Universal and generous paid family leave;
- A permanently expanded Child Tax Credit that restores immigrant families’ eligibility and is fully inclusive; and
- Robust commitments to humane immigration relief.