Sen. Joe Manchin has opposed the Child Tax Credit extension, meant to give families up to $300 for children up to age 5; $250 for older children. According to the Washington Post, Manchin would not support the extension because of the lack of requirements, such as work or skill sets. However, adjusting the bill to fit in the requirements he wants would make those who need it ineligible from the program. Many children in West Virginia are raised by grandparents who physically cannot work and rely on a small monthly income. The CTC would assist grandparents raising children with affording necessities they cannot afford due to being unable to work. In addition, the CTC would eliminate food insecurity and poverty among children.
According to the Washington Post, the food insecurity rate in WV dropped from 11.6 percent to 8.4 percent in July when the first CTC payment came into accounts. Children who face food insecurity are less likely to do well in school and are more susceptible to adverse childhood experiences. The CTC extension will ensure children are given a chance to obtain food security, have a chance to excel in school, and have opportunities.
The extension is an opportunity for children but an investment in the long run. Providing children with opportunity means they are more likely to get a job and contribute to society positively, not negatively, with substance use or crime. It’s a risky investment, but an investment, nonetheless.
A compromise can be made about the CTC extension. Keep the CTC amount the same but reform the bill to make the threshold $45,000. Have the CTC remain the same with no requirements but implement it into a debit/credit card that can be audited periodically to ensure the money is being appropriately used.
The goal of welfare is not to stay on welfare but to help you get back on your feet again. But for some parents and grandparents, the CTC extension is not just welfare to them; it’s livelihood and what they need to stay on their feet.