Heinrich, Former Education Secretary And Advocates Discuss How American Rescue Plan Delivers For Children

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich


WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined former U.S. Secretary of Education John King and child welfare advocates Thursday to discuss how the American Rescue Plan will slash child poverty and create long-term economic opportunities for children across the country.

VIDEO: Heinrich Discusses How the American Rescue Plan Delivers for Kids

Also joining the virtual press conference hosted by Invest in America, were James Jimenez, the Executive Director of New Mexico Voices for Children, and Emma Mehrabi, the Director of Poverty Policy Children’s Defense Fund.

“There’s no greater investment that we can make than to invest in the early years of our children’s development,” Heinrich said. “We’ve learned the hard way over the years that if you don’t make these kinds of investments in people, in families, and in small businesses, that the impacts of an extreme event like COVID or a financial crisis linger in the economy. We made the right decision this time to not take an austerity mindset so that we can get the economy going the way it should be. I can’t think of anything in my career so far that will have the impact on children that the American Rescue Plan will have.”

Heinrich fought to include provisions in the American Rescue Plan that expand tax relief for working families. These include expanding the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for tax year 2021, as well as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for more than 17 million adult workers without children. Senator Heinrich is working with his Senate Democratic colleagues to encourage President Joe Biden to include provisions in any further recovery packages that would make these extensions permanent.

In conjunction with the press conference today, New Mexico Voices for Children released a new fact sheet detailing how the American Rescue Plan will directly provide New Mexico families and children with the relief they need.

“Here in New Mexico, as a majority people-of-color state where 1 in 4 children are living in poverty, we have seen a dramatic negative impact from this pandemic on the lives of children and families,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “The American Rescue Plan is a moral statement about the importance of investing in our children. Thinking back on some of the most consequential pieces of legislation that have impacted New Mexico children’s wellbeing, the American Rescue Plan has to be right at the top. The bill’s unemployment insurance, housing and food assistance, cash, and child and health care assistance finally demonstrate that the U.S. Congress has prioritized children.”

“The American Rescue Plan is a shift in how the country values its children,” said John B. King, Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Education under President Obama. “This bill was so essential because of the equity disaster that COVID has been for kids and families. We see it in food insecurity, we see it in housing insecurity, we see it in the disparate health and economic impact of COVID on communities of color. All of that has an impact on kids. Hopefully this is not only a moment of responding to a crisis, but a New Deal moment where we say that we truly have to build back better.”

“Expanding the Child Tax Credit as outlined in the American Rescue Plan will dramatically help reduce child poverty, boost income security, and advance racial equity for so many of our children and their families,” said Emma Mehrabi, director of poverty policy for the Children’s Defense Fund. “This is not just about helping kids in poverty, it’s also about investing in our children. The American Rescue Plan will put cash directly into the hands of children and their families to help them put food on the table, keep the lights on, and keep children safely housed. As a society, we have a responsibility to help the next generation of kids — to help them flourish and thrive. Countless studies have shown that broad and generous income support helps boost educational attainment, helps physical and mental health of the kids, and helps employment and wages in the long term.”