Jun 21, 2021
Kamala Harris Speech Transcript on Child Tax Credit June 21
Kamala Harris gave a speech on June 21, 2021 on the expanded child tax credit. Read the full transcript of her speech here.
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Vice President Kamala Harris: (00:46)
Hello, everyone. It is good to be back in Pennsylvania. Thank you all. Thank you. Thank you. Please have a seat, please. Thank you. I was just downstairs meeting with the young leaders who range in age from, well, they were proud to tell me, on their way to third grade, not second grade, thank you very much, through seventh grade and here for summer school. And it is always so inspiring to meet the children of our community, and Ross, you have approached your work, so many of us with the same spirit, which is that the children of the community are the children of the community. And in that way, we approach the work that we do, understanding our responsibility, our duty to all of our community’s children. And it was so wonderful to be with them downstairs, because when you look in their eyes, you can see that our future is bright.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (02:04)
So thank you all. It’s great to be with you. It’s great to be back in Pittsburgh. And like I said, meeting these children, I mean, they are without any question our nation’s future. They are full of hope and full of light, and they have not yet heard, and if it’s been spoken to them, they still haven’t heard it, that there are any limitations on who they are or who they can be. And isn’t that the way at every stage of life we all should be? But it is so inspiring to see them.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (02:44)
And before I begin my comments, for the purpose of my trip, I want to thank Secretary Marty Walsh. Where are you? There you are. Secretary Marty Walsh, for joining me on this trip. We are co-leading many things in our administration, including our labor council. And Marty has been a long standing public servant, devoted to working families in America. So it’s great to be with you, Marty. My senator, my friend from Pennsylvania, Bob Casey, we have been together so many times. I’ve traveled the state with him and Josh Shapiro. It’s so good to be with you guys. And Josh, thank you for all the work you do. Back in my days as attorney general, we would talk, and you’ve been an extraordinary leader on the issues that affect Pennsylvania, but national issues. Mayor Bill Peduto, thank you for the warm welcome that you gave me today. And it turns out we have friends in common, so thank you for the warm welcome when you greeted me today on the tarmac. And to all the elected officials, and all the teachers and all the parents, thank you all for all that you do.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (04:02)
So when we think about where we are today, I want to just get to the point of this moment. It’s been about five months since President Joe Biden and I took office, and many people have asked me, many reporters and just folks on the street have asked, what has been the most joyful thing for you about being vice president, and what has it been in terms of the work of your administration? And every time, I tell them exactly what it is. The proudest moment that I have experienced in this position was when President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law. And I’ll tell you why, because through tax credits and food assistance and housing assistance and healthcare coverage and direct checks, the American Rescue Plan, and here’s the drum roll, the American Rescue Plan will lift half of America’s children out of poverty. And I’m going to say that again, half of America’s children will be lifted out of poverty.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (05:19)
And when we think about what that means, it’s also about understanding that all families, they love their children, but don’t always have the resources that are necessary to do all that they hope and pray and desire for their children. And so that’s the significance. It’s about also understanding that when we talk about child policy, it has to be with a recognition that we don’t just come in and take care of the child. You want to take care of a child, you do it in the context of the family in which that child is being raised. You recognize the challenges of working parents. You recognize the challenges of families that are just barely holding it together. And then you treat the issue in the context of the home.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (06:19)
And so for the work that we have done with the American Rescue Plan, it will include benefiting here in Pennsylvania 140,000 children. And the impact of that, of course, is what we say, you know, I come from California, so I’m going to say seismic, historic. It will be felt not only by children today, not only by children now, it will be felt by families and communities, and by extension, our country, for generations to come.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (06:56)
And so that’s why I’m here today, and I’m here because, Pittsburgh, we need your help to make it work, to make it happen. So we do the big thing, but then the details of the rollout make all the difference between whether the thing actually happens. And so what we know is when more families know about the relief that is included in the American Rescue Plan, when more families know about how they can get the relief, that is how we will be able to lift our children out of poverty. That is how we will lift up our nation’s middle class, as well.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (07:38)
The increase and the expansion of the Child Tax Credit is one of the most important, one of the most impactful, parts of the American Rescue Plan. On Child Tax Credit Awareness Day, we are getting the word out about this tax relief. So that’s why I’m here to speak with all of these leaders, all of you, to help us get the word out. And there are four things in particular that our families need to know. First, the child tax credit is now higher than it was before. It’s bigger than it was before. So for children six years and over, it was $2,000 per child. Now it is $3,000 per child. And for children who are six years old and under, it is now 3,600 per child.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (08:40)
Because part of what we know is that the cost of living keeps going up, but wages have remained stagnant in many parts of our country. So we need to meet the demands, again, on our families, and that extra $1,000, that extra $1,600, well, you know what that means. That could cover a month of rent, a few months of groceries, an entire year of diapers, right? So it makes a big difference.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (09:11)
The second thing we need you to know is that the Child Tax Credit covers more families than it did before. So more families will qualify. Every American family making $150,000 or less will receive the full credit. So many families making more than that will receive partial credit, but under 150,000, full credit. And for the president and me, this is about fairness. American families need this support, and we want to make sure that regardless of their income, that our families receive it.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (09:49)
The third thing that we need folks to know is something I’ve been working on for quite some time now, which is families will receive this credit, and it’s been mentioned already, families will receive this credit every month, instead of as a lump sum at the end of the year. And all of you are clapping because you know why. People got to pay their bills every month, people got to pay the rent every month. You’ve got to buy groceries frequently. So we want to make sure that we are actually helping families, and that means taking some of the pressure off of those monthly, if not daily, responsibilities. In fact, the IRS estimates that 30 million, or 39 million, households will see checks and direct deposits starting in July, 39 million.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (10:51)
And the fourth and final thing that you need to know is how to get the Child Tax Credit. Now, this is equally important, if not more so, right? Those are all the benefits, but now let’s talk about how to get it. If you filed taxes for 2019 or 2020, or if you signed up with the IRS to receive a stimulus check in 2020, you’re good. You don’t have to do anything extra. You will get the Child Tax Credit automatically. But what we need to get the word out is that if you want to get the monthly payments, which are going to start July 15th, and if you did not file taxes in 2019 or 2020, or if you did not sign up with the IRS to receive a stimulus check, you have to take action. You have to take action. You have to do something to get it, and you’ll be qualified, but you have to do something to actually get the checks.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (11:56)
And so what you need to do, and I’m going to give you a website, because how could I be here without a website, childtaxcredit.gov. So visit childtaxcredit.gov and fill out the simple form, and that’s it. And then the monthly payments will start coming. And as I said at the start, this is obviously very important for our nation’s families, and President Joe Biden and I want every single family who qualifies for the Child Tax Credit to receive it. And so that’s why today we are partnering with organizations across the country, and all of you, to get the word out. And again, we need your help.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (12:35)
Whether you are spending some time over the next couple of days even at the grocery store or at work or at school or at church, wherever you run into people, perfect strangers, just go on up and introduce yourself and tell them about the Child Tax Credit. Let them know it’s available, spread the word, let them know help is here. And remember, the increase and the expansion of the Child Tax Credit is only for 2021. So we are working as an administration with all our friends to extend it for years and years through our American Families Plan, which is what we are negotiating now and talking about in Washington, DC, because we will never, and with your leaders here in particular, your congressional leaders, because I work with them and I know them, and I see them in the hallways in DC, whether the cameras are on or the cameras are off, they’re always fighting for Pennsylvania’s families. And we cannot stop fighting for our nation’s children.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (13:37)
So let me just end today with a quick story about what’s at stake. So I’ve been visiting a lot of childcare centers, because also, it just can be the highlight of your week to do that. And a few months ago, I met this little girl named [Gala 00:13:53], and she’s five years old. And this little one is something. So I walk in the room in her classroom, and she has clearly decided that she is going to be the ambassador to the class. And so I walk in and she just came up and just stood by my side and started introducing me by name to every single child in the classroom, by name. And that is this, and this is this, and this and this.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (14:19)
And at one point, I was so impressed by her, and I bent down and I said, “Gala, you know you can be anything you want to be.” And of course you probably have now some hint of her response to me. She looked at me in my eyes, she looked up at me in my eyes, and she said, “Well, I want to be everything. I want to be everything.” And I know all of our community’s children, all those young leaders I met downstairs, all of our young leaders who are present right now, they want to be whatever they want to be, and it is our responsibility to support them every step of the way.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (15:12)
So finally, I’ll just say President Joe Biden and I are determined to get this work done, and we do believe, and many of you probably know him personally, it is truly a commitment of ours to uplift, to support, and to do everything we can to support families and nurturing the children of our community. That is how we will build a strong nation, and we are firmly committed to this work.
Vice President Kamala Harris: (15:42)
So I want to thank all of you very much for all of the support and all the work that you’re doing every day. These have been difficult months, these last many, many months. We’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Our kids are in summer school. But we still have a lot of work to do, and the only way we’ll be successful is to do it together. Thank you all, and may God bless you and God bless America. Thank you. Thank you.