“Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker,
but those who are kind to the needy honor him.”
– Proverbs 14:31 (NRSVue)
Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 2024—The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) remains steadfast in its push for Congress to pass the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, which includes a much needed increase in eligibility for the Child Tax Credit. During the height of the pandemic, child poverty and hunger was cut significantly due to the child tax credit. Unfortunately, the expansion of the benefit for families ended in 2021, and child poverty and hunger increased again.
Passing this critical child tax credit legislation could lift as many as 400,000 children above the poverty line. It also would provide relief for more than 80 percent of the roughly 19 million children under age 17 living in low-income families that don’t get the full credit — about 16 million children in the first year alone. This includes nearly three million children under age 3.
Congress must do its part to make a difference in the lives of children and families facing this urgent crisis. The recent commemoration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. compels us to reflect on his words: “There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it.”
“We must not ignore the plight of poor children in our country when we possess the ability to provide adequate relief. This situation is disheartening in that far too many families struggle with the mounting cost of monthly bills such as groceries and childcare, pushing many into poverty and forcing them to choose which necessities matter most. Congress must move in haste to pass this legislation,” said NCC President and General Secretary Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie.
We urge Congress to work together to pass the bipartisan Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024 without delay. The time for usual politics is over; it’s time to address this pressing need with urgency.