A major anti-poverty effort that would lift prospects for millions of children and close a long-standing gap in the nation’s economic safety net appears headed for approval by Congress, tucked into the COVID-19 relief bill, where it has largely been overshadowed by the debate over the size of stimulus checks.
The proposal, which could provide nearly all American families with monthly checks of up to $300 per child, would cut child poverty nearly in half, lifting nearly 10 million children up to or above the poverty line, according to analyses by the National Academy of Sciences and other expert groups.
The idea has been debated in Congress for nearly two decades, during which lawmakers have taken incremental steps to give more help to low-income families with children.
The fact that the proposal suddenly stands at the brink of passage — it’s in both the House and Senate Democratic versions of the $1.9-trillion COVID relief bill and is a high priority for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and other party leaders — vividly illustrates how the pandemic and resulting economic crisis have shifted what’s considered possible in domestic policy.
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