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Expand federal tax credit to help lift kids from poverty | READER COMMENTARY

A swing sits empty on a playground outside  in Providence, Rhode Island on March 7, 2020. Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy estimates that the number of children in poverty grew by 3.7 million from December 2021 to January 2022, a 41% increase, just one month without the expanded child tax credit payments. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

The Baltimore Sun recently highlighted the pending change in congressional leadership starting in January (”Hakeem Jeffries elected next House Democratic leader,” Nov. 30). But our current Congress is still in office and still can take meaningful, impactful action before Christmas, and that would be to reinstate the expanded child tax credit.

The expanded child tax credit reduced child poverty substantially in the United States, yet when the increase expired, over 3 million children fell back into poverty. One young mother I know worries that after paying her rent and getting gas to go to work, she won’t have enough money for holiday gifts for her child. Were she to receive a monthly child tax credit payment, she could pay rent and buy gas, and still have enough for a gift.

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A return of the expanded child tax credit would be the best Christmas present she could get.

As it currently stands, only working families receive the full benefits of the tax credit. In Maryland, 249,000 children under age 17 do not benefit from the full child tax credit because their family income is too low. You read that right! The poorest children do not currently receive the full benefit.

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U.S. Reps. John Sarbanes, Dutch Ruppersberger, Kweisi Mfume, and all of our Maryland delegation, including U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, you know the expanded child tax credit is a good idea. Tell your leadership how crucial it is. Reinstate it, with monthly payments, for all low- and no-income families. I urge you to act before Christmas!

— Jan Kleinman, Baltimore

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