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Opinion
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Guest Column
The expanded Child Tax Credit is a lifeline for working families | Column
Due to this vital program, over 272,000 children in our state have been lifted out of poverty in just the last six months, writes guest columnist Kaderah Bryant.
With the U.S. Capitol dome in the background, a sign that reads "Build Bake Better" is displayed before a news conference in December.
With the U.S. Capitol dome in the background, a sign that reads "Build Bake Better" is displayed before a news conference in December. [ JACQUELYN MARTIN | AP ]
Published Jan. 17

I consider myself to be an extremely lucky person. Every single day, through my job as a Patient Care Technician at a hospital here in St. Petersburg, I have the opportunity to help new and expectant mothers start their life as a family off on the right foot.

For most of us in this profession, we don’t do this job because it pays well, because it doesn’t, or because it’s glamorous, because it isn’t. We do this work because the chance to help others while supporting our own families is a calling that was too loud for us to ignore.

Kaderah Bryant
Kaderah Bryant [ Provided ]

However, many of us, and many of these new families we help, still struggle with paying the bills every month and making sure our children have all the things they need to grow up in a happy and healthy home. But these are not unique stories in our state. With the costs of things like housing and utilities continuing to skyrocket in Florida, it is getting more and more difficult to balance our budgets while having anything left over to plan for a future emergency or just a new backpack for our kids.

That’s why I was so excited last year when I received my first payment from the expanded Child Tax Credit that was passed as part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. On the 15th of every month since last July, I’ve had the security of knowing that our family would be receiving a much needed boost to help us pay for basic necessities like groceries or a trip to the doctor’s office.

It hasn’t just been my family that’s benefitted. All across Florida, the families of 3.8 million children have been able to count on a payment of up to $300 per month per child to help them stay ahead. Due to this vital program, over 272,000 children in our state have been lifted out of poverty in just the last six months.

But when I checked my bank account on Jan. 15, that payment wasn’t showing up. That’s because Republicans like Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are blocking the continuation of this life-changing program for working families across Florida. This is after they voted against the expanded Child Tax Credit in the first place. They’re letting politics stand in the way of helping those who need it most, our children. It’s not only bad policy, it’s a heartless dereliction of their duty to help those they were elected to serve.

We need to support the passage of the Build Back Better Act so that families like mine and those I serve can continue to benefit from the expanded Child Tax Credit.

I know what this program has meant to my family and I know there are thousands of families just like us who have been able to rest a little easier at night these last six months without the burden of worrying about whether all the bills will be paid. Please don’t take this lifeline away from us.

Kaderah Bryant is a Patient Care Technician who works with mothers and babies at Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg. She is a proud member of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest union of health care workers in Florida representing members in about 80 nursing homes and 30 hospitals across the state.

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