The Children’s Defense Fund released the following statement today in response to House passage of an updated COVID-19 relief package:
Washington, D.C. – Since the passage of the first COVID-19 relief legislation in March, the pandemic has not only continued, but worsened. There are over 7 million confirmed cases in the U.S., more than 200,000 people have died, and millions of children and families—especially Black and brown children and families—continue to struggle from the result of catastrophic job losses and reduced wages, ongoing systemic and structural racism, and economic disruption. With the passage of the updated HEROES Act today, the House of Representatives took critical action to meet the needs of children and families.
“The House has once again acted in the best interests of the children and families all across America,” said Kathleen King, Interim Policy Director. “For months, our most vulnerable children and families have struggled with child care, distance learning, and keeping food on the table. Families deserve to get the support they have been calling for. We applaud the House’s continued efforts to provide children and families with the support they need and urge the Senate to do the same.”
“While less robust than the HEROES Act passed by the House in May, the bill passed today would critically strengthen food security for children and families by boosting SNAP benefits and increasing nutrition program funding for schools and child care centers, extend another round of $1,200 direct cash payments, make the $2,000 Child Tax Credit (CTC) fully refundable for one year for the lowest-income families, and implement a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures with some additional housing and rental assistance for the millions of families struggling to pay rent and mortgages,” said Emma Mehrabi, Director of Poverty Policy. “Now the Senate must pass this bill to help address the ongoing economic and racial justice crisis that this pandemic has magnified and commit to bigger and bolder legislation immediately to ensure that all children are prioritized.”
“This legislation is an important step toward finally responding to the needs of the children and families in or at risk of entering the child welfare system, who face particularly unique challenges from the pandemic,” said Stefanie Sprow, Director of Child Welfare Policy. “The child welfare provisions in this bill would make critical investments that help support struggling families, keep children safe, and help youth thrive during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. We commend the effort in the House for these long overdue emergency child welfare investments that will support the children and families who need it most.”
We know what children and families need to weather this health and economic crisis, and that will require continued action by Congress in providing the necessary support to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.