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Conn. Gives $3,200 To Residents Born Into Poverty. Now Lawmakers Want A Similar National Program

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Members of the Connecticut Congressional delegation urged their fellow lawmakers to support a federal baby bond program. It would invest $1,000 for each child born into poverty. That’s similar to the first such program in the nation that was launched in Connecticut this year.

Connecticut Treasurer Shawn Wooden, who championed the state’s baby bond program, was in Washington D.C. to support the national initiative. Wooden said it’s one of the most effective ways to narrow the racial wealth gap.

“This program not only addresses the racial wealth gap but it also strengthens Connecticut’s economy in the long term," Wooden said.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said baby bonds would help get many more people into the middle class.

“I view the baby bonds program literally as an American birthright to opportunity,” Blumenthal said.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who is sponsoring the bill in the U.S. House, has fought for child anti-poverty programs for decades.

“We need to invest in our kids who through no fault of their own were born into poverty. And by starting at birth, we provide a strong financial foundation so that everyone can not only succeed but they can thrive,” DeLauro said.

DeLauro anticipates bipartisan support for the bill. But she said it might take a few years to get it passed.

Connecticut’s program allows recipients to cash in their bonds between the ages of 18 and 30. They can use the money to cover education expenses, home ownership, a business investment or retirement security.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.