Statement: The Colorado Children’s Campaign calls on Congress to pass the American Rescue Act

Contact: Riley Kitts
Title: Government Affairs Director
Phone: 303-960-6492
Email: [email protected]

Statement: The Colorado Children’s Campaign calls on Congress to pass the American Rescue Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 4th, 2021

DENVER–In Colorado and across the nation, the public health and economic crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have tremendously impacted children and families. Kids and families of color have been particularly hit hard as a result of inequitable and racist systems that erect additional barriers. The American Rescue Plan would provide critical funds to expand health coverage, safely reopen schools and address lost learning time, support child care, and improve family economic security and well-being. It is imperative that this support be available to all taxpayers, including those in immigrant families. All families, including immigrants, deserve a chance to be safe, healthy, and have the economic means to thrive. Colorado families cannot wait any longer. Congress must act now. The Colorado Children’s Campaign calls on lawmakers to pass this vital piece of legislation to support our nation’s families.  

Faces the Pandemic Head-On and Improves Access to Health Coverage 

The pandemic is not over, and we need to increase efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That means wearing masks, social distancing, and having robust national testing and vaccination programs. At the same time, we need to improve access to health coverage. Millions have lost their employer-based health insurance, and even families who have maintained coverage are struggling to afford care. The bill includes: 

  • $50 billion to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by improving the nation’s testing, contact tracing, and data surveillance systems.  
  • $20 billion for a national vaccine program to strengthen the country’s vaccine distribution and administration efforts. 
  • Enhanced Premium Tax Credits for health care plans to increase coverage affordability and access of plans on Connect for Health Colorado, and the state option to expand Medicaid for postpartum individuals to better support maternal and child health. 

Safely Reopens Schools and Addresses Lost Learning Time  

COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for public schools and the children and families they serve. School closures have disproportionately impacted students of color, students with disabilities and English language learnersFewer hours of instruction and lack of social-emotional supports will be felt for years. Closures have also negatively impacted parents and their ability to return to work. The American Rescue Plan will: 

  • $130 billion to reopen schools safely by implementing social distancing and reducing class sizes, hiring additional nurses and custodial staff, and providing teachers with PPE. The funds will also help support student learning and well-being by hiring more counselors and providing extended learning time. 
  • $7 billion to address the digital divide by reimbursing schools and libraries – central points for connectivity in many communities – to purchase equipment such as hotspots, internet service, and computers on behalf of students and patrons. 
  • $5 billion for governors to allocate to K-12, early childhood or higher education through the Hardest Hit Education Fund and specifically target the learning needs of students most negatively impacted by COVID-19. 

Recognizes Child Care as Essential to COVID Response and Recovery 

Both our emergency response and economic recovery hinge on child care. Access to child care is a necessary work supportConsequentlydisruptions in care arrangements or inability to find child care disproportionately harms workforce participation, particularly among women and people of color. Working families rely on stable child care, and immediate public investments will help providers navigate the next few months, so they remain viable in the spring as the economic recovery takes off.  The legislation provides: 

  • $25 billion in emergency stabilization funding to help hard-hit child care providers that are in danger of closing and assist those that have already had to shut down reopen their doors. 
  • $15 billion to expand child care assistance through the Child Care and Development Block Grant to help millions of parents return to work and begin to rebuild the supply of child care providers. 

Supports Family Economic Security, Safe and Stable Housing, and Access to Nutritious Food 

The economic fallout of COVID-19 has made it more difficult for working families to afford the essentialsFamilies across the nation are behind on rent and mortgage payments, and more needs to be done to ensure that families hit hard by the economic crisis won’t face eviction or foreclosure. With more families struggling to consistently put food on the table, children’s health and well-being becomes increasingly at risk in the long term. This proposal would: 

  • Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and make the Child Tax Credit (CTC) fully refundable to ensure that the lowest income families get critical support. The changes to the CTC are expected to cut child poverty in half. Poverty for Black children would fall by 52 percent, by 45 percent for Hispanic children, and by 61 percent for Indigenous children.   
  • $1 billion in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to help cover the costs of essentials like foodbus passes, and diapers.  
  • $30 billion in rent and utility assistance for hard-hit families and an extension of the Eviction Moratorium to ensure that every child has a roof over their head.  
  • Extend the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 15 percent increase through the summer when childhood hunger rises due to a lack of school meals. 

###

About Colorado Children's Campaign


The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child well-being in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and re-search and organizing an extensive statewide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org. 

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Riley Kitts at 303-960-6492 or email Riley at [email protected].