Jul 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

"A historic day": Biden touts child tax credit as pivotal for curbing poverty

Speaking at the White House, President Biden described Thursday — when a majority of U.S. parents were first sent monthly payments as part of the expanded child tax credit — as "a historic day" for ending childhood poverty.

Why it matters: Families representing nearly 60 million eligible children were sent checks — amounting to some $15 billion dollars total — on Thursday, per the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service. The program is one of the largest anti-poverty measures in modern history.

Biden said the payments have "the potential to reduce child poverty in the same way that the social security reduced poverty for the elderly." Children are the poorest age group in the country, with 1 in 6 living in poverty, according to the Children’s Defense Fund.

  • "To give you a sense of how transformative this is, this would be the largest ever one-year decrease in child poverty in the history of the United States of America."

The big picture: The payments, part of the American Rescue Plan, were disbursed to families making under $150,000, or individuals making less than $120,000. Eligible families will get up to $300 per month for each child under age 6, and up to $250 monthly per child ages 6 to 17.

What they're saying: "I believe this is actually a historic day. A historic day in the sense that we continue to build an economy that respects and recognizes the dignity of working class families and middle class families," Biden said.

  • “It’s historic and it’s our effort to make another giant step toward ending child poverty in America. I think this will be one of the things the vice president and I will be most proud of when our terms are up.”
  • "It's one of the largest ever single tax cuts for families with children. And it's a reflection of our belief that the people of this country who need a tax cut aren't the folks at the top," he added.

Biden said he plans to introduce another piece of legislation that will allow for the payments to continue for longer than a year.

Vice President Harris said July 15 should be marked "as the day the American family got so much stronger." She painted the impact of the program as "generational."

Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-N.Y.) during a press conference at the Capitol celebrated the program as a "successful hit" for both middle class and poor families.

  • “We are sending taxpayer dollars right back to American parents. This will amount to a substantial, and potentially life-altering, tax cut for American families."
  • “This is one of the most historic days in American history, and I’m not being hyperbolic,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
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