This pandemic has laid bare the catastrophic consequences of our nation’s failure to address hunger and poverty, especially for our children.
The HEROES Act, introduced yesterday in the House, includes critical supports to stabilize families and communities -- including expansions in access to paid sick and family leave, getting cash to families, additional nutrition benefits, and investments in housing assistance -- yet the legislation falls woefully short on support for child care.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the consequences of allowing so many children and families in America to live in poverty. Expanding and increasing the Child Tax Credit and creating a new Young Child Tax Credit will help reduce rapidly rising child poverty, provide meaningful assistance for working families, and help stabilize the economy during and beyond this pandemic.
Congress take immediate and comprehensive action to ensure equal educational opportunity during the COVID-19 public health crisis and beyond. Long term closures of early childhood settings, K12 schools, and college campuses, necessary to protect the safety and health of communities, have significantly exacerbated longstanding inequities in our educational system. Leadership and action from Congress can, and must, minimize the harm to marginalized students as long as COVID-19 continues to threaten the public health.
If enacted, the “Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act” would provide states, localities, territories, and tribes with flexible resources to provide direct support to households in need with short- and medium-term rental assistance or to cover up to 6 months of back-rent and late fees. The funds may also be used to stabilize households by helping to address the cost of security deposits and utility deposits and payments, among other expenses.
Children and families struggling to make ends meet need more than just a one-time payment. Families need a larger and recurring monthly payment of $2,000 a month for every adult and child for the duration of the economic downturn. Families with children are disproportionately feeling the effects of this crisis. We all benefit when children and their families are fully supported.
As organizations dedicated to promoting the health of our nation’s children and pregnant women, we strongly urge Congress to protect and strengthen Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as part of any forthcoming legislative efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the anticipated subsequent recovery period.
As Congress looks to its next round of legislation we must cast a wider net and help everyone with extraordinary expenses. It makes sense to extend relief to keep businesses afloat and help keep wages flowing, and it is essential to fund state and local governments. At the same time, we must also keep families afloat through recurring direct payments, expanded unemployment insurance, and food/housing aid to those in need.
CDF joined other national and state organizations in opposition to the two costly tax hand-outs to wealthy business owners and corporations included in the CARES Act and to urge you to repeal these provisions. Such businesses have the greatest capacity to weather the current economic disaster. Aid for this privileged group would be better spent on those suffering most from the pandemic.
CDF joined other leading organizations to encourage Congress to build on past bipartisan efforts and ensure all individuals have equitable access to testing and treatment for COVID-19; equip states and localities with sufficient financial support to combat the crisis; provide protection and support to the health care workforce and others on the frontlines of the pandemic; assure access and capacity in the health system; and protect against high and unexpected health care costs.