As someone raised by a single mom who worked full-time at a factory in Greensburg, Indiana, I can relate to the phrase “every penny counts.” Like many working families, we learned to stretch every dollar as far as it could go.
That was the 1970s—when a loaf of bread was 28 cents and a gallon of gas cost 57 cents. As we all know, the cost of starting and raising a family has gone up a little bit since then.
That’s why I proudly supported the doubling of the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000 in President Donald Trump’s new tax cut law. This change will help families pay the costs of raising children and saving for their future.
But the true costs of raising a child start even earlier, before a child is born. That’s why I recently introduced legislation with Rep. Mark Meadows that would expand the Child Tax Credit to include an unborn child, making it easier to cover the costs before, during and after pregnancy.
This pro-life legislation is a way to support mothers, particularly those in a tough financial situation. The bill would essentially double the Child Tax Credit for new parents, amounting to $4,000 total, in order to offset the costs associated with pregnancy and child-birth.
Expanding this tax credit will provide more resources to expectant mothers and will make a big difference to growing families.
As my co-author, Congressman Meadows, said, “It's simple: expectant mothers and fathers deserve the same financial assistance and tax credit benefits to begin planning for a new child as parents blessed with children already born.”
This legislation isn’t the only effort Congress can take up to advance the pro-life, pro-family cause.
The House recently passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, when it’s proven an unborn child can feel pain. The United States is one of only seven nations – including China and North Korea – that still allows these indefensible late-term abortions. That doesn’t put us in particularly good company when it comes to pro-life issues, and it’s past time we change it.
Unfortunately, because of the arcane rules of the broken United States Senate, the Pain-Capable Protection Act failed. This failure is yet another example of why the filibuster needs to go away. Without the filibuster, a simple majority would have passed this bill and sent it President Trump’s desk to become law.
Together, these two bills would take a major step toward protecting America’s unborn children and saving lives.
Rep. Luke Messer serves as Congressman for Indiana's 6th Congressional District.