Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lambasted one of her fellow Democratic lawmakers in a Thursday tweet over the expiration of the Child Tax Credit.
The tweet followed the release of new data from Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy that shows the monthly child poverty rate jumped from 12.1% in December to 17% in January after the expiration of the monthly Child Tax Credit payments last year.
“The 4.9 percentage point (41 percent) increase in poverty represents 3.7 million more children in poverty due to the expiration of the monthly Child Tax Credit payments,” the researchers wrote. “Latino and Black children experienced the largest percentage-point increases in poverty (7.1 percentage points and 5.9 percentage points, respectively).”
The government-funded COVID-19 measure expired in December after lawmakers failed to pass President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, which included a renewal of the program.
“One US Senator ‘heard stories’ about people allegedly using the Child Tax Credit ‘for drugs’ without any evidence or data to back it up,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “He then used that as justification to nuke the entire national program, causing millions of kids to fall into poverty in weeks. Horrifying.”
—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 18, 2022
“Meanwhile the press talks about it like it’s some beltway drama without ever showing the people who are sleeping in bubble jackets with no heat or the kids going hungry waiting for some guy in a yacht to decide if they are fully human or not,” The New York lawmaker added. “It’s just shameful, all of it.”
Biden’s $1.9 trillion spending agenda was effectively tanked after Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia refused to support the package following months of contentious discussions.
The centrist Democrat took particular issue with the child tax credit payments, which he excluded completely from his own $1.8 trillion pitch to Biden during negotiations. Manchin called for strict work requirements and an income cap for recipients if he were to support the continuation of the payments.
He even reportedly suggested that parents might use the extra funds to buy drugs, according to HuffPost.
A spokesperson for Manchin previously denied Manchin’s opposition to the payments.
“Senator Manchin has made clear he supports the child tax credit and believes the money should be targeted to those who need it most,” Sam Runyon, communications director for the lawmaker, told Insider in December.
A representative for the senator did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Thursday evening.
From July 2021 to December 2021, parents received payments worth up to $250 per child ages 6 to 17 and $300 per child under 6 each month. The program benefitted more than 61 million children in more than 36 million households, according to Columbia. The research suggests by December, the payments were keeping 3.7 million kids from poverty and reducing monthly poverty by 30 percent.
Last month, parents told Insider they were “a little bit terrified” about what life without the “godsend” payments might look like.
“Without these payments, I won’t eat so my kids can,” one parent said.