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Spanberger Talks Up Expanded Child Tax Credit, But Some Say More is Needed

AP Photo / Steve Helber

Central Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger held a round table in her district office Tuesday to discuss a new expanded child tax credit championed by the Biden administration. The mothers and child care providers in attendance were excited about the new benefit, but after a year and a half in a pandemic some are hoping for more support.

Henrico resident Abbie Conley has a three year old at home. Before the pandemic she was working part time as a veterinary tech, but between the virus and other family complications, she’s been at home and unemployed since last March.

Now, as part of President Joe Biden’s new child tax credit, she’s on track to get $300 a month from the larger benefit starting this Friday and available to millions of parents across the country. The program hopes to eliminate over 50% of child poverty in the U.S. by doling out up to $3,600 per child to families who qualify. Conley says it's a great start, but she needs more.

“$300 a month for one child is what I would be getting, but child care for me a month would be about $3000," she explains. "So, that extra zero is kind of a big gap. What could we do to close that would be my question.”

For her part, Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger hopes families and critics alike realize the program is part of a larger effort to support those who need it most, especially in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. 

"Child poverty costs our country a trillion dollars a year, and so I would make the economic argument to anyone talking about the cost of this program that an investment of approximately $100 billion that has the capability of mitigating that one trillion dollar cost is an investment worth making and one I’m proud to have voted for,” she says.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

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