2022 U.S. Poverty Laser Talks

August 2, 2022

Printable versions: CTC Laser Talks Word/CTC Laser Talks PDF

Tailor your message to Congress with these Laser Talks

It is important in all our lobby meetings to connect with a member’s values (review our motivational interviewing training recordings to learn more). Right or left-leaning members may connect with certain arguments more than others. Use your best judgment as to which of the laser talks below would resonate best with your intended audience. For more talking points and background, see RESULTS CTC Background Memo.

Prioritize the Child Tax Credit in End of Year Tax Legislation (for Progressive Audiences)

Engage: In 2021, the expanded Child Tax Credit (or “CTC”) helped millions of families pay the bills and cut child poverty by more than one-third.

Problem: Now, as families are facing higher costs for rent, food, and fuel, the CTC monthly payments have ended. As a result, monthly child poverty increased 41 percent after CTC payments stopped.

Inform: The 2021 CTC expansion is the most significant investment in reducing child poverty in a generation. It lifted 4 million children from poverty each month payments went out. Families used their CTC payments to buy food, pay rent, and cover utilities. [share your own experience and/or state data on the impact of expanding the CTC]. Now, as Congress considers prioritizing tax breaks for big corporations later this year, they should prioritize families first by expanding the CTC.

Call to Action: Congress is expected to return after the elections to move a year-end tax package; extending an expanded CTC for the lowest-income families can and MUST be included. Will you make including an expanded CTC for lower-income families a top priority for any legislation later this year?

The Child Tax Credit Needs Broad Bipartisan Support (for Conservative Audiences)

Engage: In 2021, the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) helped millions of American families weather tough economic times, while also cutting child poverty by more than one-third.

Problem: These gains have now been erased since the CTC payments stopped last December, despite the CTC proving itself to be an effective and efficient way to strengthen families and reduce child poverty. It is imperative we resume expanded monthly CTC payments as soon as possible.

Inform: The 2021 CTC expansion is the most pro-family policy in a generation. [Share your own experience and/or state data on the impact of expanding the CTC]. It helped families stay housed, put healthy food on the table, and stay employed. Two reasons for this success were that families with low- or no incomes got the full CTC, and that payments were made monthly. The monthly payments put money back into the hands of American families when they needed it most, monthly bill time. It also allowed families to choose how best to use it, whether it was for monthly bills, their child’s education, or for one parent to stay home to care for their children.

Call to Action: Congress must prioritize effective policies that strengthen families and fight child poverty. Will you work to expand the CTC — prioritizing families with the lowest incomes — in any tax legislation this year?

Child Tax Credit: Closing Racial Poverty Gaps with the Tax Code

Engage: Because of the legacy of racism in our public policies, poverty rates for Black and Latino children have persistently been 2-3 times higher than that of white children.

Problem: Tax policy plays a part in this. Until 2021, roughly half of Black and Latino households did not have high enough incomes to be eligible for the full Child Tax Credit.

Inform: The 2021 CTC expansion changed that. For the first time, families with little or no income got the CTC. As a result, nearly 4 million children were lifted out of poverty each month. It also brought Black and Latino child poverty rates to record lows, decreased food insecurity by 25 percent, and increased eligibility in Puerto Rico from 10 percent to 97 percent. [share your own experience and/or state data on the impact of expanding the CTC]. But one month after the final Child Tax Credit payment went out in December 2021, monthly child poverty rates increased by 41 percent.

Call to Action: We must undertake the hard work of undoing the damage done from centuries of discrimination. The CTC will continue to increase racial inequities in American society unless we expand its benefits to families with little or no income. Will you urge your Congressional colleagues and leadership to extend the expanded CTC for as many of the lowest-income families as possible in any end of year tax bill?


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