NEWARK, NJ — When Jessica Vargas was forced to take a medical leave of absence from her full time job earlier this year, her savings dramatically dwindled; bills began to pile up and reality sunk in quick for the single mom of four from Newark.
“I went from being financially OK to being on a tight budget — extremely tight budget,” she said.
But then Congress passed the American Rescue plan, opening the door to a child tax credit payment where parents would receive a monthly payment of up to $300 per child. That money has dramatically changed the lives of Vargas and her family.
“It was just a huge load that was taking off my shoulders you know.,” she said.
Her family, and many others, met with New Jersey Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez Monday at the Boys and Girls club in Newark. They shared the immediate impact the child tax credit, which began going out last week. has had on their household.
According to the US treasury, families of more than 1.5 million children in NJ received payments from the enhanced child tax credit last week.
The federal assistance is expected to lift an estimated 89,000 children in the Garden State out of poverty.
“There is no better investment than you can make an American and then investing in children and that is not rhetoric that is actual fact,” Sen. Booker said.
The goal now for the senators is to make this child tax credit, which has already benefited 65 million American children, a more permanent program.
Taking aim at Republicans, none of which supported the measure, Sen. Menendez is vowing to put families first in his agenda that aims to extend the credit beyond 2021.
“The party that used to talk about ‘family values’ showed once again how little they actually value families,” Sen. Menendez said.