The expanded child tax credit sent monthly checks of $250 for children ages 6 through 17 and $300 for children ages 5 and younger, to 36 million households with over 60 million children. In addition to lifting millions of children out of poverty, the money helped families that were struggling to stay out of poverty do so. It helped families that had enough to pay the basic bills but nothing more send their kids to Girl Scouts, or get extra support for children with special needs. It helped single mothers pay for child care while they went to college.
This is a program that cost $120 billion a year, a small fraction of the $778 billion U.S. defense budget. It’s also money that could be viewed as a very smart investment in the future: Study after study shows that boosting income for families with children leads those children to have better educational outcomes, better work outcomes, better health outcomes.
But Manchin—he of the Maserati and $500,000 annual coal income—thinks parents might use the money to buy drugs despite all the studies showing they’re using it to buy food and clothes and a modicum of stability for their kids. Despite, also, the Republican drug-tests-for-welfare schemes that have lost money because the cost of the drug testing was more than the benefits rejected as a result of positive tests.
It’s not just Manchin. Every Republican opposes this, too. But no one expects better of Republicans. Whether we lament it or celebrate it, everyone expects cruelty from them. Today, we know that 3.7 million children are experiencing poverty—and we know how to stop it. We know who could stop it. It’s on the consciences of those senators. The ones who have consciences.
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