Work Requirements

Peggy O'Mara
8 min readJun 7, 2024

Public policy is based on bias not evidence

New parents with baby in a carrier. Photo by PIKSEL

The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act, which includes a modest, non-refundable, three-year expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), passed the House by a 357 to 70 vote on January 31, 2024 and was sent on to the Senate. It has the strong support of President Biden, who mentioned the CTC in his State of the Union speech.

The bill has languished in the Senate since January, however, largely because top Republican Senators — Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and John Thune (R-SD) — object to the CTC’s lack of sufficient work incentives, though work is required to receive it.

Worker giving customer an ice cream cone at a McDonald’s drive-up window. Photo by jax10289

Most people are already working

For the last ten years, 61 to 63% of those 16 or over have participated in the labor force. Of those who are not working, 14% reported retirement as the main reason; 6% cited home responsibilities; 5.5% were ill or disabled; and 5% were going to school. Less than 1% could not find work or gave no reason for not working, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nearly a third of the US workforce makes less than $15 an hour, including nearly two…

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Peggy O'Mara

Peggy O’Mara is an award winning journalist. She was the Editor and Publisher of Mothering Magazine for over 30 years. Her focus is Family, Health, and Justice.