Pelosi visits state, touts expanded child tax credit
EAST HARTFORD — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the campus of Goodwin University Wednesday was billed as another opportunity to highlight the expanded child tax credit approved under President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
But it was also a way for Democrats to sell Biden’s agenda ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, including a massive infrastructure package that’s still in the works.
“The goal of the rescue package was to put vaccine in people’s arms, money in people’s pockets, children safely in school and people safely back at work, ” Pelosi said outside the university.
The new tax credit gives eligible families up to $300 a month per child. The third payment will go out to American families later this month. In Hartford alone, 28,000 kids are eligible for the benefit, “a game changer for those kids and their families,” Mayor Luke Bronin said.
Hartford resident Carmen Rodriguez, a grandmother of nine, surrounded by the Democratic officials, underscored what the money has meant for her. Her son died a year and a half ago and she is now taking care of his kids and her other grand kids.
“This money is stepping up and helping with the kids education and keeping them focused and on the right track so they won’t fall through the cracks,” she said.
Pelosi said Democrats in Congress are working to make the tax credit, championed by U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., permanent.
“Some of it was COVIDoriented,” she said of the rescue package. “We want to make it permanent.”
During her brief visit, Pelosi also highlighted the work of Congressman John Larson, a longtime political ally who is facing at least two Democratic challengers next year.
Larson who came to Congress in 1999 has been “a leader for the children, for their parents in the workforce, for their grandparents on social security,” Pelosi said. “Nobody has done more.”
At the state level, Gov. Ned Lamont, who is likely to be on the ballot in Connecticut in 2022, has embraced the federal relief from Congress, highlighting in events across the state in recent months how it will lift up Connecticut’s working poor. Meanwhile, state lawmakers still have to decide how appropriate hundreds of millions in federal coronavirus money still unspent.
“Right now, madam speaker, we have more women collecting unemployment than men. We have to continue to do a better job making it easier for everybody to get back to work and for women to get back to work,” Lamont said. “And you’re making that possible for us with your incredible investments.”
The governor cited federal investments to expand child care and pre- and post-natal care, and the possibility of universal pre-K being included in the federal infrastructure bill — “that makes a difference,” he said.
Pelosi said the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that came out of the Senate is a “fine piece of bipartisanship” but it “doesn’t have everything,” and more money to address climate change, among other investments, is needed.
“We’ll be fine. We’re on our path. I was in the meetings until I got on the plane to come here,” she said. “I’ll be back on the phone as soon as I leave here.”
Later Wednesday, Pelosi received an honorary degree from Smith College in Northampton, Mass.