Whose side is Joe Manchin on?

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Kristen Olsen is an educator in West Virginia and a member of the Poor People’s Campaign. She wrote this for InsideSources.com.

I work hard to make ends meet for my family. But as an educator in West Virginia, it can be difficult sometimes, especially with the cost of child care.

Fortunately, the expanded child tax credit that Democrats passed last spring has been a lifeline. These monthly payments provided my child with food, shelter, electricity and heat. They have meant that I have less stress and can be a better mother. And they have meant that I can stay employed because I can afford child care.

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

Unfortunately, because Congress didn’t pass the Build Back Better law before the end of 2021, those payments have now expired.

Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are generally not in favor of extending tax breaks to ordinary Americans, even though they have had no trouble pushing trillions in tax cuts for the richest Americans. when Trump was in power.

Democrats have therefore worked to extend these payments to ordinary 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 this tax break for the rest of us.

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 received the enhanced child tax credit benefits used them for essentials such as food, school, rent and utilities.

These payments kept over 3.5 million children lifted 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 is not extra. It is not optional.

The Build Back Better law would not just expand 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 multimillionaire politician funded by commercial interests in coal has the power to push me and my 4 year old boy out of the economic pit. 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?

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