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The inclusion of a higher child tax credit is the most significant part of the latest $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) told Axios in a virtual event on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The child tax credit helps offset the cost of raising children, and the expanded credit would provide families with $3,600 for children up to age 5 and up to $3,000 for ages 6–17. Some Democrats are hoping the policy can be extended after the pandemic.

What they're saying: Torres said that the previous child tax credit structure left behind one-third of families in need and that the expanded tax credit would help fight extreme poverty in the U.S.

  • "As far as I'm concerned, the most important provision in the American rescue plan is the child tax credit, precisely because it cuts child poverty in half."
  • "I spent most of my life in poverty in the Bronx," Torres said. "I was raised by a single mother who had to raise three children on minimum wage, which in the 1990s was a mere $4.25 an hour."
  • "I think poverty is at the core of everything. Poverty poisons everything it touches," he added.
  • "Wherever you have racially concentrated poverty, you have worse outcomes in every arena of life. Less public safety, worse housing maintenance, lower levels of civic and political engagement, less access to transit and food and health care, and all the necessities of life."
  • "And so for me, the central mission of progressive government should be to break the cycle of racially concentrated poverty."

What's next: The full coronavirus stimulus package is expected to be passed by the House later Wednesday.

Watch the full event here.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.

GOP congressman forfeits committee seats after indictment

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on Wednesday stepped down from his committee assignments after being indicted for lying to federal investigators amid a probe into illegal campaign donations.

What they're saying: In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Fortenberry said he is "grateful for the outpouring of support from my friends and colleagues as we work against the injustice confronting me."

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The 2014 shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.