Over 21 million people go hungry in US as Manchin Tanks expands child tax credit

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“This program is social security for our children, and Democrats must maintain it for the long term,” said Senator Ron Wyden.

Data released Wednesday by The US Census Bureau shows that more than 21 million people across the country live in households where there was “sometimes or often not enough to eat in the past seven days,” a five-month record.

“We will continue to push for an extension of the CTC until this happens. Childhood hunger is too high a price to pay.

The new figures come as the Expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) – a program that has helped millions of families obtain food and other essentials during the pandemic – is on the verge of collapse. ‘expire due to opposition from Republican lawmakers and Sen. Joe Manchin (DW. Va.), who reportedly wanted to remove the benefit from the Democrats’ Build Back Better package.

While Manchin has publicly claims to support the CCT, The HuffPost reported earlier this week that the West Virginia Democrat told his closed-door Senate colleagues that “he believed parents would waste monthly child tax credit payments on drugs instead of providing for the needs of the child. of their children ”- an account critics have called insidious and untrue.

According to new Census Bureau figures, 9.7% of U.S. households were food insecure between December 1 and December 13, a percentage that lawmakers and progressive advocates say will rise sharply if Congress leaves the CLC strengthened expire at the end of the year. More than 10% of West Virginia households ran out of food in early December, data shows.

“Here is the reality of the situation: If the expanded child tax credit payments stop being paid, an estimated 10 million children could fall into poverty”, Committee of Friends on National Law warned earlier this week. “We will continue to push for an extension of the CTC until this happens. Childhood hunger is too high a price to pay.

After the first installment of monthly CTC payments was made in July, the percentage of U.S. families with children who reported not having enough to eat declined dramatically, according to Census Bureau data at the time.

“Families received their sixth child tax credit payment last week, and they have come to depend on these payments to cover essentials like rent, groceries, heat and clothing for their children. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement Sunday. “Family food insecurity has declined by around 25% since the start of these payments. Child poverty has been cut by almost half.

“This program is social security for our children,” he added, “and Democrats must maintain it for the long haul.”

The Treasury Department said on Dec. 15 – when the last scheduled monthly CTC payment was made – that the families of 61 million American children benefited from the program, which was implemented as part of the plan. American rescue.

In its current form, the Democrats’ $ 1.75 trillion Build Back Better law would extend monthly CTC payments of up to $ 300 per child under six and $ 250 per child six to 17 by one year. year.

But the way forward for social spending and climate legislation remains uncertain after Manchin announced his opposition to the bill in a Fox news appearance on Sunday. Last week, Manchin reportedly presented a $ 1.8 trillion counter-offer to the White House, which declined to accept because the proposal left out the larger CLC entirely.

The White House has ruled out attempting to expand the beefed up CLC with stand-alone legislation, which would require the support of every Senate Democrat and at least 10 Republicans. Not a single Republican in Congress has endorsed the Democrats’ expanded CTC program.

If Congress allows the current version of the CTC to expire, the program will revert to its previous form, which provided for annual lump-sum payments but excluded poorer families with its graduated income.

Eugenia Harper, a 38-year-old mother of two, told the Washington post Wednesday that the CTC’s monthly payments “gave us that extra help that we can’t get from our friends or family.”

“I get child support and the child tax credit, and I was able to get through it,” said Harper, who has cut her hours of work as a home helper due to coronavirus issues. “There are no thrills and frills. We need this money just to survive.

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