‘Lift the South Bronx out of poverty:’ Rep. Ritchie Torres supports permanent expansion of child tax credit program
Rep. Ritchie Torres announced he will be a lead sponsor on a new bill to make the expansion of the child tax credit program included in the new COVID-19 relief package permanent.
While many people are focusing on the stimulus checks and unemployment benefits included in the new COVID relief package, Torres spoke on Sunday to highlight another part that he says is the most important feature for the Bronx.
The new COVID relief bill expands the child tax credit by an extra $1,000 per child, and $1,600 per child under the age of six.
While there is currently a child tax credit program in place, Torres says it leaves out one-third of children. He says in his district, the South Bronx, that number is double.
As someone who grew up poor in the Bronx, the congressman says the issue is personal to him.
"Childhood poverty is an accident of birth that has life-long consequenses," he says. "The research is crystal clear that childhood poverty leads to lower graduation rates, lower test scores, lower lifetime earnings."
The current recovery bill would expand the child tax credit for a year, but Torres says he'll be one of the lead sponsors on a new bill to try to make it permanent. He calls the bill the American Family Act.
"There is no single piece of legislation that will do more to lift the South Bronx out of poverty," Torres says. "We'll do for children what social security and Medicare did for senior citizens. It will end extreme poverty among the most vulnerable members of our society."
President Joe Biden has said he would support making the expansion permanent.
Torres says he believes there's enough bi-partisan support to make it realistic.