On Tuesday, February 7, 2023, President Joe Biden delivered his State of the Union urging Congress to enact his policies, many of these priorities will soon be outlined in CWLA’s 118th Congress Legislative Agenda. I’d like to expand on a few of the alignments here.

President Biden urged Congress to restore and expand the Child Tax Credit which was originally passed as part of the American Rescue Plan Act to provide relief for families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This popular and successful tax credit helped to lift 3.5 million children out of poverty, indeed, it is arguably the most successful anti-child poverty policy ever passed by Congress. The Child Tax Credit allowed families to provide necessities such as food, clothing, and housing – all while having no negative effect on employment.

Unfortunately, Congress has allowed this important tax credit to expire. CWLA is working with coalition members to advocate for the restoration of the Child Tax Credit. In addition to reinstating monthly payments, CWLA is urging expansion of the tax credit to make it fully refundable and increasing the total value for families with low-incomes.

President Biden also urged Congress to provide access to pre-school for 3- and 4-year-old children. Children with the option to attend pre-school are twice as likely to finish high school and go on to college. Studies has shown that universal pre-k programs for 3- and 4-year-old reduces the financial burden on families and dramatically prepares a child for kindergarten. Regardless of a child’s background, pre-k programs must be part of a universal high quality early education program – all children deserve this.

Finally, President Biden urged Congress to continue to enact universal background checks and red flag laws. CWLA supports these two important reforms. Most of us remember the standard fire drill; today, children are practicing for active shooter scenarios. Tragically, gun violence is a plague in our schools and is causing extreme trauma for those who experience it. Congress must continue to explore all options to limit gun violence – universal background checks and red flag laws are two options available. We join with President Biden and millions of Americans and urge Congress to pass these two laws.

CWLA is proud of our 100-year history of working with Congress to enact policies that help children and families. Our non-partisan commitment to our members and with Members of Congress has never been stronger.

In the weeks ahead, CWLA will unveil our 118th Congress Legislative Agenda. In the legislative agenda, we expand on multiple priorities – CWLA will continue our tradition of explaining these priorities to Congress and we are committed to working with anyone to enact these reforms.

By Joe Huang-Racalto, VP of Public Policy and Strategic Partnerships