Which side is Manchin on? – YubaNet

December 15, 2021 – I’m working hard to make ends meet for my family. But as an educator in West Virginia, it can be difficult at times, especially with the child care to pay.

Fortunately, the expanded child tax credit that Democrats passed this spring has been a lifeline. These monthly payments mean that my child has food, shelter, electricity and heat. It means I have less stress and can be a better mother. And that means I can stay employed because I can pay for child care.

In the United States, 65 million children and families like mine receive these monthly payments of up to $ 300 per child, including nearly all children in West Virginia, whose children are among the poorest in the country.

Unfortunately, unless Congress now passes the Build Back Better Act, these payments will expire before the end of the year.

Not a single Republican lawmaker on Capitol Hill supports extending tax breaks for ordinary Americans – though they had no trouble pushing trillions in tax cuts for richest Americans when Trump was in power.

Democrats are working to extend these payments to regular families without Republicans. But one of them always stands in their way: my senator, Joe Manchin. So far, Manchin has joined his fellow Republicans in refusing to support tax breaks for the rest of us.

Manchin did not refer communications from his constituents to his Senate office – it makes me feel invisible.

In my frustration, I can’t help but wonder how a multimillionaire like Manchin – who could spend $ 300 on lunch on a Tuesday if he wanted to – could understand what that $ 300 a month means for a family like mine.

It’s more than a lunch for us. A recent survey found that nearly all families of the 65 million children who receive enhanced child tax credit benefits have used them for essentials such as food, school, rent and utilities.

These payments kept over 3.5 million children out of poverty in October only. And nationally, they are expected to reduce the number of children living in poverty by at least 40 percent once all the profits have been made.

It means we need it. It’s not extra. It is not optional.

The Build Back Better Act would not just extend child tax credit payments. It would also help ordinary families pay for child care costs, higher education and prescription drugs. It would expand health coverage and vocational training, and create new jobs with better wages.

It would also guarantee, for the first time, four weeks of paid sick leave for American workers to take care of themselves, a child or a parent when they are sick – another provision to which Manchin s is fiercely opposed.

But there is one critical difference between Manchin and his fellow Republicans: Manchin has the power to pass or roll the bill.

A multimillion dollar politician funded by coal companies has the power to push me and my four year old little boy off the economic cliff at the end of this month. Or it can pull us out of the chasm and start investing in a better future.

I am fortunate, during this pandemic, to still have a job that keeps me and my little one just above the absurdly low poverty line. For me – and for millions of parents across West Virginia and the rest of the country – if we stay above that line is up to Manchin.

As a parent, educator and member of West Virginia Campaign of the poor, I want to know, in this epic showdown between the huge corporate donors and the rest of us: Which side are you on, Joe?

Kristen Olsen is a mother, educator, and West Virginia member of The Poor’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Renewal. This editorial was distributed by OtherWords.org.

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