In early July, the House and Senate reintroduced the Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2020 (S. 4115/H.R. 7419), which aims to cut child poverty in half by 2030. Among industrialized nations, the United States has one of the highest rates of child poverty (21%), with children of color three times more likely to live in poverty than children from White families. As a point of comparison, Turkey and Israel experience some of the highest child poverty rates at 25% and 22% respectively, while only 3-4% of children in Finland and Denmark live in poverty. Passage of this bill is more important now than ever: as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Columbia’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy expects the U.S. child poverty rate could increase by as much as 53 percent by the end of the year. While the bill language has not yet been released, it is likely that the bill would support some combination of strategies included in a non-partisan National Academy of Sciences report released last year. The report outlines a variety of evidence-based strategies that, in concert, could reduce child poverty by one third to one half. Some of the strategies listed in the report include expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing voucher programs, as well as increasing the minimum wage. The bill would also institute new data collection and reporting requirements, tasking the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Census Bureau with monitoring whether the selected interventions are having the intended effects over time.
06/30/2020 - Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.