RICHMOND, Va. -- Abbey Conley stopped working at the beginning of the pandemic when she couldn't find childcare for her 4-year-old.
Her Varina family has since struggled to make ends meet until some extra help came in July with the start of the Child Tax Credits.
“This credit has been big for my family,” Conley said. “Things got very tight and to have that dependable amount of money coming in every month has changed things.”
Conley was one of three mothers who spoke in favor of extending the tax credits at an event at the Peter Paul Development Center on the city’s East End on Tuesday.
Ashley Smith, a single mother of a 3-year-old in Spotsylvania County, is the sole provider for her family.
“The tax credit really does help me personally to pay for things like bills, it helps,” Smith explained. “It helps with food. I’m literally waiting on the tax credit tomorrow to go grocery shopping.”
Wednesday, December 15 will be the sixth and final month installment for families unless Congress acts, Mayor Levar Stoney said.
“Thanks to the expanded child tax credit, we are on track to end child poverty for 96,000 Virginia children,” Stoney stated.
Since July, each child six to 17-years-old has received $250 per month. Children under six receive $300 a month depending on their family’s income.
However, lawmakers must pass the Build Back Better bill to extend the child tax credits into 2022 by December 28.
On Tuesday, Sen. Tim Kaine led a group of senators onto the Senate floor urging their colleagues to swiftly pass the bill to extend the credits.
“I’m here joining my colleagues to ask that this payment to parents – this parents tax cut to help their children – is not the last because unless we act, the 6th payment that will go out tomorrow will be the last," Kaine said. “It’s on our shoulders. And these families who are struggling and working so hard, and who have hopes as high as any of our hopes, they need us to fight for them.”
However, some Republican lawmakers fear pumping these extra funds into the economy will strain the already record inflation.
An extra hundred dollars each month is considered a lifeline for families like Conley and Smith.
“I hope they meet the deadline and continue this one. It will be very beneficial for lots of people."