Vice President Harris said Friday that one of the most exciting components of the administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package is the child tax credit aimed at combatting childhood poverty.
“Through the child tax credit, we believe that half of America's children who live in poverty will be lifted out of poverty,” she told former President Clinton during a one-on-one conversation at the Clinton Global Initiative University virtual annual meeting.
The American Rescue Plan expanded the child tax credit by making it fully refundable, in an effort to ensure that the lowest-income households receive the full amount of the credit, and it made 17-year-olds eligible for it.
“[It] is not only about this moment but the intergenerational impact of that approach. It’s very exciting in terms of, I think, also the duty that society should have and that government should have to the least of these, and in particular, our children and our children who are living in poverty,” the vice president said.
The credit for children under 6 years old was increased from $2,000 to $3,600 and to $3,000 for older children and the IRS is also directed to make periodic advance payments of the credit.
“Because you have focused on helping people from the bottom up, the middle out, I predict that everybody's going to better off. And we'll finally, maybe we can win this argument that when everybody wins, maybe we can get these things institutionalized more,” Clinton told Harris in response.
He added that he thinks most Americans “don’t understand the breadth and depth of the things that are in this bill and what it will do to lift people.”
The meeting was hosted by the Clinton Foundation in partnership with Howard University, which is Harris’s alma mater. The focus of their discussion was on the pandemic’s effect on women and empowering women and girls in the U.S. and around the world.
“It has definitely highlighted, this pandemic, the challenges especially for women in the workforce as evidenced by the fact that over 2 million women in the United States have left the workplace during this pandemic because of those competing responsibilities. In particular their responsibilities to take care of the children and in many cases, children and parents at the same time,” Harris said.
She also touted the billions of dollars the American Rescue Plan put toward childcare.
“We are addressing another issue that is a longstanding issue for working parents and in particular women and in particular, women of color, which is paid sick leave, paid family leave,” she said.
Harris said the pandemic has created an opportunity for more people to be aware of disparities and systematic issues.
“That just has to do with what should be a basic and essential component of any working person's life, which is that when they get sick or they need to care for someone in their family that they don’t have to risk being able to pay their rent or put food on the table to perform those duties,” she said.
The vice president also visited a Boys and Girls Club on Friday in New Haven, Conn., as part of the Biden administration’s “Help is Here” tour to promote the American Rescue Plan.