First lady advocates child tax credits at DMACC

First lady Jill Biden speaks at the FFA Building on the Ankeny DMACC Campus Wednesday, Sept. 15. Photo courtesy Dan Ivis.

First lady Jill Biden appeared on DMACC’s Ankeny campus at the FFA Enrichment Center on Wednesday, Sept. 15, to endorse a new Child Tax Credit, which appeared for a third time in the bank accounts of Iowans this week. 

A limited audience of roughly 30 people consisting of Des Moines Area Community College employees and local officials listened as Biden promoted the new proposals.

Prior to President Joe Biden taking office, the Child Tax Credit offered families $2,000 per child. 

Americans can now expect $3,600 for children under the age of six and $3,000 per child over the age of six. Half the payment will start showing up now in $300 monthly increments and the remaining portion will come after filing their 2021 taxes.

This particular Child Tax Credit is historically the largest American families have received to date, according to Biden. 

Alongside Biden was Iowa House Rep. Cindy Axne (D), who referred to the scarcity of inexpensive, reliable childcare in Iowa as an “infrastructure issue.” 

“There’s not one town hall I’ve held where I haven’t heard some Iowan say, ‘We’re in desperate need of childcare,’” stated Axne. The tax credit has been distributed to 340,000 Iowa households since its start in July, accounting for 80 percent of the state’s children. 

The tax credit stimulates Iowa’s economy by putting $150 million back into the state each month, said Axne. 

“This pandemic has forced so many parents to choose between working and keeping their job,” said Biden, as she reminisced on her previous Ankeny campus tour guide, Mandy, whose young child accompanied them as they strolled the school’s halls.

First lady Jill Biden and Rep. Cindy Axne give a wave to the press after Biden’s talk in the FFA Building. Photo by Halle Reynolds.

“That extra $300 means that you can kind of, stop holding your breath and know that you can pay,” Biden said. 

If passed into law, the policy would provide Americans with an extension of the Child Tax Credit into the foreseeable future and allow for an increase of what Axne cited as, “affordable, quality child care.”

Axne noted over 25 percent of Iowa families are unable to provide childcare for their children. She mentioned two main priorities for Congressmembers attempting to pass the bill into legislation: increasing the availability of childcare and continuing the monthly tax credit payments. 

As labor shortages have risen to historic levels following the pandemic, Axne and Biden hope the proposed bill allows families to resume working and guarantee their financial stability. 

When a reporter asked Axne if she intends to expand on child care and the new Child Tax Credit, she responded, “Including childcare in the Build Back Better act is something that will help every person in this country have economic viability. If our families can get their kids into a daycare, they can get to work.” 

The act would expand availability of affordable childcare, continue the monthly Child Tax Credit payments, offer free universal preschool, and two years of free community college, which Dr. Biden, an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College described as, “close to [her] heart.” 

When referring to the $3.5 trillion budget for the plan, Axne stated only the wealthiest in the country and large corporations would experience a tax increase to pay for the plan. 

“When we give working families the support they need, they can worry less about, you know, just scraping by … they can stop and think about raising happy, healthy families,” Biden concluded.

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