The coronavirus pandemic put hardworking American families through the wringer. Countless mothers, fathers, and caretakers lost jobs through no fault of their own, and, amid one of the most acute public health and economic crises of our lifetimes, worked tirelessly to make ends meet and adjust to a drastically different way of work, school, and life.
Last year, during my weekly, virtual town hall meetings, I heard from families in every corner of Arizona’s First Congressional District about the challenges they faced on a daily basis as a result of COVID-19. As we negotiated relief legislation in Congress, I fought to prioritize families first. As a father to three and a grandfather to four, I know that the success of hardworking families is the foundation for the success of whole communities.
This spring, I voted to pass the American Rescue Plan, a sweeping relief package to give our communities the tools they need to address this crisis and put money back in the pockets of struggling Americans. Our bill included the largest and widest-reaching expansion of the Child Tax Credit in our nation’s history.
The expanded Child Tax Credit delivers monthly payments of up to $300 per month for eligible families with kids under 6, and $250 per month to families with kids 6-17––benefiting 167,000 kids in Arizona’s First District alone. For most families, monthly payments will start hitting bank accounts automatically on July 15.
For over 43,000 First District families, monthly Child Tax Credit payments will put gas in the tank and food on the table, cover expenses like diapers and necessary medical care, and pay for child care to help get parents back to work.
With over 94% of First District kids eligible, these new tax credits will lift 13,700 children out of poverty and 6,000 kids out of deep poverty.
This is the kind of relief that has lasting impacts on our communities. When we invest in the strength of our families and the holistic success of our children—from a healthy breakfast to a good education—we invest in our future leaders and our nation’s success and competitiveness.
I was proud to vote in favor of this historic expansion of the Child Tax Credit to give families throughout our state and nation a stronger, more stable foundation to recover in the wake of a destabilizing and devastating year.
Since coming to Congress in 2017, I’ve made it a priority to protect programs that support the health, wellbeing, and education of our children. As we begin to emerge from this crisis and come together to rebuild our economy and our communities, I’ll keep working to ensure that no family’s needs are overlooked.
Tom O’Halleran is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. A Democrat, he lives in the Village of Oak Creek.