December 03, 2015

Cummings and Warren Hold Middle Class Prosperity Project Forum on "The Effects of Poverty on Children's Opportunities"

Members Release State-by-State Staff Reports on the Benefits of Extending Tax Credits for Low-Income Families in Every State and Metro Area

Panelists Emphasize That Millions of Children and Families Will Be Pushed into Poverty Unless Congress Extends EITC, CTC

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held a Middle Class Prosperity Project forum today titled, "The Effects Of Poverty On Children's Opportunities."  

At the forum, Cummings and Warren were joined by several of America's leading experts on poverty to discuss what it means for children to be poor in America today; the structural, social and economic factors that keep children and families in poverty; the unique and powerful role played by safety net programs in reducing poverty; and the importance of strengthening those programs as our economy recovers from the worst recession in decades.

The discussion highlighted the critical roles of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), key parts of which are set to expire soon if Congress does not act. In conjunction with the forum, Warren and Cummings released staff reports detailing the benefits of extending and improving the EITC and CTC in each state and metro area. The state-by-state reports are available here and below.

"It is shameful that in 2015, in the richest country on Earth, millions of kids are growing up in abject poverty. ... but we know how to give these children a better start in life," Warren said. "We hand out tax breaks to big corporations nearly every year, because Washington works great for these big corporations. But millions of working Americans will be plunged into poverty if we don't extend their tax breaks too. Congress should make tax breaks for working families permanent - and it should expand them - before committing to any package of corporate tax giveaways."

Here is the congressman's quote: "Every child deserves an opportunity to grow and flourish, but childhood poverty robs millions of American children of that opportunity," Cummings said. "If Congress is going to give Wall Street billions of dollars in tax breaks, we have the moral obligation to also make permanent the expanded child tax credit and earned income tax credit, which lift millions of American families out of poverty every year."

Cummings and Warren were joined at the forum by Sister Simone Campbell, the Executive Director of NETWORK; Kathryn Edin, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in Sociology and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of $2 a Day: The Art of Living on Virtually Nothing in America; and Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

"We need to transform our economy to prioritize the common good and support our people," Sister Simone Campbell said. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit need to be made permanent and expanded. We need living wages so that our people have enough to get by...We need Congress to strengthen programs that are designed to help hardworking families and individuals."

"In any given month roughly 1.5 million families with 3 million children were living on cash incomes so low-and in a poverty so deep-that we didn't even think it existed in America-up 130 percent from just 15 years earlier. ....the ranks of the $2 a day poor show no signs of depleting, despite the strengthening economy," Kathryn Edin said. "How should we respond to the plight of the $2 a day poor? ... First, give all the opportunity to work. ... Second, all parents deserve the opportunity to raise their children in a place of their own.... Third, sometimes work won't work, and we need a safety net that can truly catch poor families when they fall."

About the Middle Class Prosperity Project:

Ranking Member Cummings and Senator Warren launched the Middle Class Prosperity Project in February to examine the issues of greatest concern to the Middle Class and those who aspire to rise to the Middle Class.  Previous forums have examined the stagnation in middle class wages, the conflicts of interest in financial retirement advice, student debt, predatory financial practices, and federal investments in science and innovation.

Report on benefits of preserving and extending tax credits for families

Alabama Montana
Alaska Nebraska
Arizona Nevada
Arkansas New Hampshire
California New Jersey
Colorado New Mexico
Connecticut New York
Delaware North Carolina
District of Columbia North Dakota
Florida Ohio
Georgia Oklahoma
Hawaii Oregon
Idaho Pennsylvania
Illinois Rhode Island
Indiana South Carolina
Iowa South Dakota
Kansas Tennessee
Kentucky Texas
Louisiana Utah
Maine Vermont
Maryland Virginia
Massachusetts Washington
Michigan West Virginia
Minnesota Wisconsin
Mississippi Wyoming