As lawmakers look to wrap up the 117th Congress this year, dozens of progressive Democrats are calling on leaders to ensure that the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) is renewed as part of the top end-of-year priorities, reports the Hill.

Congressional Democrats expanded the CTC as part of the American Rescue Plan, a comprehensive package passed in 2021 to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The expansion increased the payments per child, increased the number of families that were eligible, and began a monthly payment instead of just a year-end tax return.

The CTC expansion lifted more than 3.5 million children out of poverty over the course of 2021, with most households spending the additional monthly funds on food, basic necessities, and paying down debt. However, the expansion expired at the end of the year and was not renewed as part of the Inflation Reduction Act this summer. A new study published in JAMA highlights the association of the CTC expiration with food insufficiency, finding that the expiration was associated with a 25% increase in food insufficiency among households with children from January to July 2022.

“The enhanced CTC lifted millions of children out of poverty, gave parents the flexibility to return to work, and provided families a stronger opportunity to succeed,” the group of 51 lawmakers wrote to Democratic leadership in a letter, first reported by Punchbowl News. The group is pushing for an expansion to be included in any year-end package.