Grandma pressed to lengthen them

Local residents, Cara Baldari and nine-month-old daughters Evie (L) and Sarah Orrin-Vipond and eight-month-old son Otto (R), participate in a protest in front of the US Congress December 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Alex Wong | beautiful pictures

WASHINGTON – Gammy, Nonni, MeeMaw, Bubbie: Think of them as the unofficial Grandma Caucus.

The ladies of Capitol Hill are gathering to restore monthly child tax credit payments ends on Wednesday. The payments, which cover more than 60 million children, are part of a Covid relief bill passed in the spring.

Extend benefit is one of the core elements of the Democrats’ sweeping social spending package, also known as the Rebuilding Better Act. And these congresswomen hope their high profile will give them special influence in Washington.

“I have two young grandchildren, both in diapers. We’re trying to potty train one of them,” Representative Lois Frankel, D-Fla., told CNBC. “But even the cost of diapers has increased 14% in the past year.” That’s a lot for some families, she added.

Other outspoken grandmothers on Capitol Hill include delegates Rosa DeLauro, Debbie Dingell, and Jan Schakowsky. Then there is the most powerful grandmother of them all – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who has nine grandchildren.

On Wednesday, Pelosi called the payment “necessary” and urged the Senate to pass the Better Rebuild bill. “The kids and their families will suffer without that payment,” Pelosi said at a news conference.

The Grandma Caucus is not alone. Advocacy groups are celebrating grandparents around the country with the hashtag #TheGrandmasAreComing. They held a rally on Capitol Hill last week and arranged a meeting with the White House.

Joyce Barnes, a Virginia grandmother, told Cecilia Rouse, President Joe Biden’s top economic adviser, saying, “I have six nieces, and watching them grow up while I’m always working, it’s been real. sad.

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According to the Census Bureau, more than seven million grandparents live with nieces under the age of 18. More than a third of them are responsible for the basic care of children. In many cases, that qualifies them for an enhanced child tax credit this year: Up to $300 a month for each child under age 6 and $250 a month for those from 6 to 17 years old.

DeLauro, D-Conn., told CNBC: “I think grandparents have been playing this role for a long time. “But I think we’re just starting to see it now, to understand it and illuminate what they do.”

Mary Beth Cochran, 52, of North Carolina, is the primary caregiver for two of her 16 grandchildren. She won custody of them seven years ago after her daughter battled addiction and domestic violence. Cochran said she has struggled to pay the bills, often having to choose between electricity or groceries.

Then there is the pandemic and the challenges of virtual schools.

“I wish I wouldn’t have to rely on these programs to provide for me and my family. But I have to make a living,” Cochran told CNBC. “I don’t want people to look at me and I’m short.”

Under the Covid relief law President Joe Biden signed earlier this year, the IRS began sending enhanced child tax credit payments to eligible households in July. They include about 61 million children, and the program has sent about $93 billion to date, according to government data.

The final monthly check comes on Wednesday, but the rest of the 2021 credit will be available once after taxpayers file their tax return.

In 2022, the credit will revert to $2,000 per child regardless of age and will no longer be paid in monthly installments. While Republicans have supported credit increases in the past, many oppose the current benefits as being too generous during the economic recovery and too costly in the long run. GOP Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama accused Democrats of wanting to “dismantle” the nuclear family.

“Don’t worry about two parents, one parent can do this because we’ll pay your way for the chance to sit at home or get a job,” he said.

Democrats say the program has significantly reduced child poverty and are proposing a larger credit extension and continuation of regular enhanced payments through 2023. Legislature has even called for making the changes permanent.

“A lot of us can spend money, but we don’t have enough to spend for the month,” Cochran said.

Cochran gets $500 a month for her two grandchildren — just enough to cover her $424 car rental and $89 insurance bill. It’s the first time in her life Cochran has been able to afford a car of her own – a red-orange Ford Fiesta – and she says it’s important to get groceries and doctor appointments . She even drove her niece to her first traveling basketball game.

“It’s been a struggle, but I wouldn’t change anything for the world,” Cochran said. “These grandchildren are keeping me young for so long. They’re helping me grow every day. That’s why I wake up and keep doing this.” Grandma pressed to lengthen them


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