By Annie Flom
We hosted our first State of the Movement meeting of 2022 last week, kicking off what’s sure to be a busy year in the fight to advance basic income. We were thrilled to have a great lineup of guests, starting off with one of the biggest cash champs in Congress, Rep. Rashida Tlaib. Tlaib acknowledged that the Child Tax Credit expansion that kept so many families afloat last year with a basic income for parents is essentially dead due to Senator Joe Manchin’s opposition and a lack of support from any GOP Senators.
Rep. Tlaib spoke about being the eldest of 14 kids and the parent of two, and the financial strain that so many parents are still facing in the midst of rising prices and an unpredictable economy. She also said the impact of the payments cannot be denied: “We now know it worked, that’s something they can’t take away from us.”
Given the Senate’s refusal to move the legislation forward, Rep. Tlaib has joined with Rep. Mondaire Jones to put forward the End Child Poverty Act. The bill would operate similarly to the CTC expansion, but with slightly higher monthly payments. When discussing how the bill would be paid for, she spoke about the vast economic disparity we have in this country, saying “I know where we can pay for this, you all know where we can pay for this.” (Hint: the wealthy could pay their fair share.)
After Rep. Tlaib, we heard from Oregon House Rep. Brad Witt and Economic Security Illinois’s Harish Patel. Rep. Witt shared his efforts to establish a basic income pilot for single moms and foster youth that our Founder Stacey Rutland wrote about in a recent op-ed. While the bill failed to advance in the state’s extremely brief legislative session, Rep. Witt vowed to continue his efforts to establish a statewide basic income program. Meanwhile, Harish shared the exciting developments happening in Chicago with the creation of several new basic income pilots. The pilots are particularly notable because of their large size, and the fact that they are funded with public dollars — this is a major step forward in the space, given earlier pilots have been privately funded. As our ultimate goal is a federal basic income, we know that it must be funded by the government to match the size and scope necessary to support all who need it.
In the last segment, Stacey was joined by Insight Center’s Jhumpa Bhattacharya and Miracle Message’s Kevin Adler to discuss the critical role narrative plays in the basic income debate. Kevin spoke about his experience running the first basic income pilot for people experiencing homelessness, while Jhumpa spoke about the importance of centering racial and gender justice in the cash movement as laid out in a new report her organization co-authored with Mayors for a Guaranteed Income.
It was an excellent evening of conversation from across the spectrum of basic income experts, practitioners and legislators. If you missed it live, you can watch the recording here.
Annie Flom is the Communications Manager for Income Movement.