The goal of the Biden/Harris Build Back Better Agenda was to address the urgent crisis of decline in human infrastructure. New government data proves that it’s working. 

A centerpiece of the Build Back Better Agenda is the Child Tax Credit (CTC). As part of our commitment to economic justice, NOW has been working for decades to enact this historic legislation for women and families. A new Columbia University analysis shows that the first monthly payment lifted households with three million children out of poverty—a 25% cut in the child poverty rate that is likely to fall even further. This is an opportunity to lift communities out of a cycle of poverty.  

The pandemic was on track to produce a huge rise in the rates of hunger and food insecurity as unemployment and disease rose across the country.  But increased government spending’s effect was “crystal clear,” as University of Michigan researcher H. Luke Shaefer who studied stimulus spending told the New York Times:  

“We now have definitive evidence that food hardship is responsive to government aid… We could potentially be at the lowest level of food insecurity ever recorded, because of  the government transfers.”  

Compare this to the rise in food insecurity during the Great Recession of 2008.  More than 50 million Americans lacked food security at the Recession’s peak, compared to 38.3 million last year.  But while food insecurity fell for most Americans, it rose among households with children, researchers say, because widespread school closures during the pandemic meant fewer school meals delivered.  Electronic benefit cards replaced these on-site meals in many districts, and the Administration wants to make the E.B.T. program a permanent part of summer school benefits.   

Every week, we see more evidence that spending government resources on the human infrastructure agenda is the wisest possible use of our tax dollars and is essential to how our society functions and enhances our standard of living. With 2 million fewer women in the workforce, the pandemic has eroded decades of progress. Women are disproportionately facing economic instability and need bold reforms to get back to work. This Build Back Better investment will pay for itself by expanding economic opportunities to all Americans, and reinvest in our nation’s children and families.  

That’s why NOW is convening a special Women Build Better online event one week from today—that’s Wednesday, September 22, at 6:30 PM EST.   You can find out more about joining the event here. Speakers will address the infrastructure issues that impact women most, and we’ll show how this is a feminist issue of increasing urgency.  I hope you’ll be able to join us.  

And stay tuned for more about how we can help make a case for the Build Back Better agenda in our communities, in the states, and Washington, D.C.  The next few weeks will be essential as Committees in Congress make the final decisions about what programs will stay and what, if any, will be cut.  

We must continue to stand up for the services and plans that help make our systems more equitable for all and dismantle systemic racism and discrimination.  That’s how we’ll Build Back Better—for all of us.