I consider myself a very lucky person. Every day, through my job as a patient care technician at a hospital here in Saint Petersburg, I have the opportunity to help new and expectant mothers start their lives as a family from the horizon.
For most of us in this profession, we don’t do this job because it pays well, because it doesn’t, or because it’s flashy, because it isn’t. We do this work because the opportunity to help others while supporting our families is a call that was too loud to ignore.
However, many of us, and many of these new families we’re helping, still struggle with paying the bills each month and making sure our kids have all the things they need in a happy, healthy home. But these are not unique stories in our state. With the costs of things like housing and utilities continuing to rise in Florida, it is getting more and more difficult to balance our budgets while leaving nothing else to plan for future emergencies or a new backpack for our kids.
That’s why I was excited last year when I received the first installment of the expanded children’s tax credit that was passed as part of the US bailout from President Joe Biden. On the 15th of a month since last July, I’ve had the security of knowing that our family will receive a much-needed payment to help us pay for basic necessities like groceries or a trip to the doctor’s office.
It was not only my family who benefited. Across Florida, families of 3.8 million children have been able to count on a payment of up to $300 per month per child to help them stay ahead. Due to this vital program, more than 272,000 children in our state have been lifted out of poverty in the past six months.
But when I checked my bank account on January 15th, that payment didn’t show up. This is because Republicans like Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are preventing the continuation of this life-changing program for working families across Florida. This is after they voted against the Extended Child Tax Credit in the first place. They make politics stand in the way of helping those who need it most, our children. It is not only bad politics, it is heartlessly concerned with its duty to help those who have been elected to serve.
We need to support the passage of the Building Back Better Act so that families like mine and the ones I serve can continue to benefit from the expanded Child Tax Credit.
I know what this program means to my family and I know there are thousands of families just like us who have been able to rest a little easier at night these past six months without the burden of worrying about whether all the bills will be paid. Please don’t take this lifeline away from us.
Kaderah Breant is a patient care technician who works with mothers and babies at Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg. It is a proud member of the 1199 Uniform Degree of Eastern Health Workers, the largest health care workers union in Florida representing members in approximately 80 nursing homes and 30 hospitals across the state.