Extend the enhanced Child Tax Credit

Eleni Towns
No Kid Hungry Pennsylvania
Volunteer Jennifer Wagner, of West Manchester Township, loads a frozen turkey into a truck bed as YorkGiving, partnered with Catholic Harvest Food Pantry, distributes Thanksgiving turkeys and food boxes to pre-registered families at York Expo Center at Memorial Hall in York, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

While families are counting down to the holidays, many are also anxiously watching a different clock — the one that is running out for Congress to take meaningful action to address hunger and poverty in communities here in Pennsylvania and nationwide.

Unless Congress acts before the end of the year, families will get their last monthly check this month through the enhanced Child Tax Credit, one of the programs of the Build Back Better Act now under consideration in the Senate.

This benefit has been a lifeline for families, helping them afford necessities like food, rent, diapers and utilities, and keeping millions of kids from slipping into poverty.

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If the Senate doesn’t extend the enhanced Child Tax Credit, 27 million kids nationwide will lose out on this full benefit, including more than 890,000 in Pennsylvania.

But there are other things at stake if the Senate doesn’t pass the Build Back Better Act.

This legislation is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help end child hunger. Across the commonwealth, it could strengthen access to school meals for nearly 600,000 students and tackle summer hunger with the creation of a Summer EBT program.

An opportunity to do this much for so many kids is truly rare. With 1 in 6 kids in Pennsylvania facing hunger today, Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey must act now and pass the Build Back Better Act.