Jul 15, 2021
Joe Biden & Kamala Harris Speech Transcript on Child Tax Credit Relief Payments July 15
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris gave speeches on July 15, 2021 on the first monthly payment of the Child Tax Credit as part of their American Rescue Plan. Read the full transcript here.
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Kamala Harris: (00:00)
… our young leaders. Well, good morning, everyone. Good morning. Let us mark this day, Thursday, July 15th, 2021, as the day the American family got so much stronger. Today, the Expanded Child Tax Credit is here. Today, for families all over our country, for children all over our country, help is here. It is a good day, America.
Kamala Harris: (00:37)
And I’ll tell you, my mother, she worked hard at being a mother, whether it was waking up at the crack of dawn to pack our lunches and get us ready for school, or whether after we went to bed, sitting at our kitchen table and trying to just figure out how to make it all work. And I know it wasn’t easy, even though she never said that. My family’s story is not all that remarkable.
Kamala Harris: (01:03)
It is the story of the American family, parents who will do anything for their children, parents who work so hard every day, parents who deserve their government and their leaders to really see them, to really understand them as they juggle all their responsibilities every month. Every month the rent becomes due, every month the childcare provider needs a check, a check that could take half an income, every month American families need to buy groceries and gas, to pay for rent or homeowners insurance, utilities and car loans.
Kamala Harris: (01:52)
And even if they have enough to make ends meet, it is often just barely enough. One unexpected expense could mean the difference between taking on more debt or losing it all. In the wealthiest nation in the world, it should not be this way. And the President and I, well, we both believe that. So when we took office, we set out to provide American families with some relief, and that is exactly what we are doing.
Kamala Harris: (02:27)
And I want to thank those members of Congress who led and voted to expand the Child Tax Credit. The President will detail the expansion, but let me underscore one important piece. This tax cut will be issued in monthly payments. This has never happened before, and America, yes, it is a big deal. I have been fighting for months and for quite some time, even when I was in the Senate, for monthly payments, because I know if the struggle to make ends meet is monthly the solution has to be also.
Kamala Harris: (03:05)
So before I introduce our President, let me close with this. The payments may be monthly, but the impact of this Child Tax Credit will undoubtedly be generational. Indeed, it is the largest middle class tax cut in generations, and will lift up half of our nation’s children who are living in poverty, out of poverty. And in lifting up those children and in lifting up the American family, it will lift up our entire nation.
Kamala Harris: (03:39)
Today is a good day, America. It is a historic day. And we are here today because of the vision and the leadership of a fellow parent, of a president who believes with all his heart that the strength of our nation should be measured by the strength of our families and our children. It is my great honor to introduce President Joe Biden.
Joe Biden: (04:09)
Thank you. For you, anybody under the age of 13, this has got to be boring, boring, boring for you. Right? Well, I tell you what. We ought to work something out here so that when this is over, your parents, your uncles, your aunts, whoever you’re with, they owe you some ice cream or something.
Joe Biden: (04:37)
Folks, it’s a pleasure to be here, Let me take a sip here. I believe this is actually a historic day. Historic day in the sense that we continue to build an economy that respects and recognizes the dignity of working class families and middle-class families. It’s historic, and it’s our effort to make another giant step toward ending child poverty in America.
Joe Biden: (05:11)
I think this’ll be one of the things that the Vice President I will be most proud of when our terms are up. Beginning this morning, nearly all working families, that is people making under $150,000 as families, or an individual making under $120,000, 25,000, who have children, are raising children in America, are going to receive their first monthly tax-cut payment. That payment, that payment from the expanded child tax credit, that we signed into law as part of our American Rescue Plan.
Joe Biden: (05:48)
It’s one of the largest ever single tax cuts for families with children, and it’s a reflection of our belief that the people of this country who need a tax cut aren’t the folks at the top. They’ve got plenty of tax cuts. They’re doing just fine. But it’s the people in the middle, the folks who are struggling, are just looking for a little bit of, my dad would say, a little bit of breathing room, a little bit of breathing room.
Joe Biden: (06:11)
This has the potential to reduce child poverty in the same way that the Social Security reduced poverty for the elderly. And by the way, you’re thinking monthly payments. You get a Social Security check, those who you know get Social Security, they get it monthly. Well, this’ll be, unless you want it in one lump sum, this’ll be a monthly payment for your children, a tax cut.
Joe Biden: (06:38)
And here’s how the tax credit works. For every child under the age of six, the parent will get $3,600 a year. For every child six to 17, they’ll get $3,000 per year. For example, a middle-class family with two young children would expect to receive $7,200 a year to help raise their children. They’ll get the first half of this $3,600 starting today. Today. Today.
Joe Biden: (07:12)
And it’ll be paid out as $600 a month between now, July, and December. And then they get the rest of the payment next spring around tax day. Now, if you file taxes electronically, you can go to your bank account today, today, and you’ll see a payment that says child CTC. Let me say that again. Payments of $300 for each child under the age of six, $250 for each child between the age of six and 17 on a monthly basis between July and December.
Joe Biden: (07:52)
If you don’t file your taxes electronically, as you did last year, you can expect to receive a check in the mail beginning today, or a few days from now. And you’ll get this payment on the 15th of every month for the rest of this year. And if you’re not required to file taxes at all in the past, you haven’t filed because you didn’t own any taxes, then you can go to childtaxcredit.gov. Let me say it again. Childtaxcredit.gov, and they’ll give you clear information and a link to help you sign up for the first time.
Joe Biden: (08:32)
This can be life changing for so many families. Because of the way the tax credit was structured, before the American Rescue Plan, more than 26 million children from the hardest pressed working families didn’t get any full payment for the child tax credit. Half of all black and Hispanic in America never received the full tax credit. We’ve changed all that. In technical terms, we’ve made this tax cut fully refundable.
Joe Biden: (09:06)
In plain English, it means instead of families who need help the most getting the least, the hardworking families, the hardworking families will get this on a full monthly basis. 97% of the children receiving this credit come from working families. And the other 3% include kids being raised by retired grandparents or by someone with a serious disability.
Joe Biden: (09:34)
And by the way, this credit doesn’t start to phase out until a couple is making $150,000 or a single parent is making $112,000. It begins to phase out then. This is a middle class tax cut. When I decided I wanted this in the legislation, I referred to it in the way it really is. It’s a middle-class tax cut. It’s just like the wealthy get tax cuts for a lot of things.
Joe Biden: (10:02)
This is a tax cut for having children. This can make it possible for a hardworking parent to say to his or her child, “Honey, we can get you new braces now. We can get you a tutor to help you in that math class you’re having trouble with. We can get you the sports equipment you need to sign up for your first team you’re going to play on.
Joe Biden: (10:25)
People have written to me to tell me they use the money to buy their kids new shoes, to send them to summer camp, cover afterschool care when school starts up again. And to give you a sense of how transformative this is, this would be the largest ever one-year decrease in child poverty in the history of the United States of America as we began now.
Joe Biden: (10:52)
Historic reductions in child poverty among white, black, and Latinos, and AAPI communities. It’s not even close. The benefits will be felt for years. Studies have shown that tax relief that helps children … that’s okay. Don’t worry about it. It’s okay. Let him cry. Her, whichever … that helps children and can lead to better health, better school performance, and better future earnings.
Joe Biden: (11:21)
In fact, research from Columbia University in New York found that for each dollar this tax cut costs, it returns $8 in benefits down the line. $8 would have to be spent in other ways. It’s a gigantic help. It’s an eight-to-one return. Your head, your heart, and your budget all lead to the same place. This is the right thing to do, and it’s a smart thing to do.
Joe Biden: (11:52)
Today, these tax cut payments are arriving automatically, but it didn’t happen automatically. The result of the work of people advocating for this for a long, long time. And we finally got it passed through my American Rescue Plan. I want to particularly thank those who have been fighting for this for years. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut. She has been a champion for this issue. Congressman Richie Neal, and Torres, and Senators Bennett, Brown and Booker, Ron Wyden.
Joe Biden: (12:26)
We’ll probably hear from our Republican friends, all who voted against this, but they’ll tout the success as it helps working families in their states and their districts. But in the coming days, we’re also going to hear from them. I want to now extend this tax. Remember, it’s only for one year now. That’s all could get it for for the first time. And so, I want to extend it into the future now. I have another piece of legislation to be voted on soon, and we’re going to continue this.
Joe Biden: (12:56)
To the people who say we can’t afford to give the middle class a break, I say we can afford it by making people at the top and the big corporations, over 50 which paid no taxes last year at all, to finally just start paying their fair share. Not going to gouge them, just pay their fair share, because people who are working hard and paying taxes deserve a break.
Joe Biden: (13:21)
That’s why, excuse me for all these terms I’m using, but my Build Back Better agenda, which still needs to be voted on in the Congress, keeps this tax cut for working families in place for years to come. We shouldn’t let taxes go up on working families. We shouldn’t let child poverty continue to stain the conscience or drag down our economy. And so I say to my colleagues in Congress, this tax cut for working families is something we should extend, not end, next year.
Joe Biden: (13:53)
And I say to all of you watching, make sure your family, friends, and community know about this tax cut. Send to them, as I said, childtaxcredit.gov, to learn more about the difference this is going to make in their lives. Let me close with this. I signed the American Rescue Plan less than two months after taking office, on January 20th. Four months later, we’ve implemented the first-ever automatic monthly payment for any major tax credit ever, as the Vice President was talking about on Social Security, which is a long time ago.
Joe Biden: (14:33)
This groundbreaking effort is similar to what we did, in our, I called our wartime effort, to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19, to mobilize the whole country. We’re proving that democracy can deliver for people and deliver in a timely way, saving lives, improving lives, helping fuel record setting recovery, giving working families a fighting chance again.
Joe Biden: (14:58)
I received an email today from a mother in Washington state. She’s a young teacher who had just received her payment. She wrote, I’m quoting, “My family has been living hand to mouth to put me through school so I could follow my passion of molding young minds. This first CTC payment has come at the exact moment when we need it most. These payments may seem small to some, but they’re life changing for my family, for us.”
Joe Biden: (15:29)
Millions of children and their families, starting today, their lives are about to change for the better, and our country will be better off for it as well. This is a really good day. And the parents, you’re going to be able to tell your kids when they’re 25 years old, that you were there the day this happened, when we talked about it, or show them once again that there’s nothing beyond the capacity, our capacity as Americans, to get done if we do it together. So I want to thank you. God bless you all. And may God protect our troops. And kids, thank you for being so polite when I was speaking. Very, very nice. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ll see you all. Bye-bye.