Build Back Better not at the finish line, yet

In a year that’s been challenging for so many, it seems hard to find bright spots, even in this season of gratitude.

Michiganders are struggling. Our hospitals are filling up, workers are spread thin, parents are trying to keep their families healthy, and we’re all doing our best to put on a “normal” face in what are truly very traumatic times.

We do, though, find joy, because we’re Michiganders.

From the friendly smiles exchanged around the neighborhood to the feeling we get when we see the first snowflake of the season, it’s possible to have small celebrations amid this troubling backdrop.

And Michigan certainly had a reason for a not-so-small celebration on Friday, when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the federal Build Back Better bills.

The investments made with Build Back Better will help millions of Michiganders get ahead by providing improved tax credits for parents, affordable health coverage, stable housing, reliable child care, and other basic needs. The legislation will broaden opportunity and reduce poverty substantially, particularly among children.

The House has taken bold action and the Senate should follow suit to quickly get the bill across the finish line.

The Child Tax Credit and the federal Earned Income Tax Credit are already some of the most successful anti-poverty tools we have. Those credits help kids by helping their parents pay for necessities like utilities, food, child care, and transportation, and the impacts are felt throughout the local economy.

In Northeast Michigan, 42% of kids in Alpena County, 46.5% of kids in Alcona County, and 45% of kids in Montmorency County are struggling to make ends meet according to the United Way’s ALICE report. The Child Tax Credit helps them and tens of millions of American parents as they rise to the challenges of the past year-and-a-half. The plan will be a major win in the fight against child poverty.

But, as the Senate now takes up Build Back Better, time is of the essence.

If Congress fails to pass the legislation by the end of the year, those improvements to the Child Tax Credit will expire. Michigan families are counting on Congress to support Build Back Better.

Let’s make sure our state’s future has more bright spots ahead.

Monique Stanton is president & CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that Monique Stanton authored this column. Her name was incorrect in the byline of an earlier version of this story.


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