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Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis: Enhancing the Child Tax Credit

Join Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute, for the next installment in Urban’s conversation series, Evidence to Action. During this virtual event, Samuel Hammond, director of poverty and welfare policy at the Niskanen Center, Myra Jones-Taylor, chief policy officer at Zero to Three, and Elaine Maag, principal research associate at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, will join Wartell to discuss a key question facing Congress as it considers a new relief package: How should the child tax credit be expanded and enhanced to respond to families’ needs amid the pandemic and economic crisis?

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan included proposals to temporarily expand the child tax credit. Senator Romney released an alternative that would replace the child tax credit with a child allowance, paid for in part with reductions in other credits and benefits, and Congressional Democrats followed with proposals to deliver the credit monthly and make the expansion permanent. It seems likely that some version of this expansion will be included in the coming relief package. But what are the benefits of each approach? Hammond, Jones-Taylor, Maag, and Wartell will discuss how the child tax credit promotes upward mobility and opportunity for children and what the evidence says can maximize the credit’s potential for reducing child poverty.



  • Samuel Hammond, Director of Poverty and Welfare Policy, Niskanen Center @hamandcheese
  • Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer, Zero to Three @myrajonestaylor
  • Elaine Maag, Principal Research Associate, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center @ElaineMaag
  • Sarah Rosen Wartell, President, Urban Institute (moderator) @swartell


Evidence to Action Series

The Evidence to Action conversation series elevates the voices of leaders and changemakers responding to, recovering from, and building resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Urban Institute was built for this moment. We answer tough questions with unbiased, rigorous research and evidence-based solutions. For 50 years, we have studied what it takes to strengthen social safety net programs, dismantle structural racism, protect workers and families, and build community resilience. Using advanced analytics, data science, technology, and decades of expertise, we equip changemakers with the facts and insights they need to accelerate solutions.


We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.


Date & Time Thursday, February 11, 2021

  • Senior Fellow
    Codirector, Innovations in Cash Assistance for Children
  • President