It’s been a busy week in Washington. And, as often happens, there were both winners and losers as a result.

Yesterday saw a great accomplishment in the final passage of the child nutrition bill, which is now cleared for the President’s signature. The numerous provisions of the bill make great strides towards combating both child hunger and obesity.

However, earlier in the week, a lack of Congressional action resulted in the expiration of federal unemployment benefits. This expiration immediately preceded today’s announcement of November’s unemployment statistics. Unfortunately, the national unemployment rate rose from its prior steady rate of 9.6% (though still high) up to the new 9.8%. This new figure translates into more than 1 in 10 children (10.3%) with an unemployed parent, totaling more than 7.7 million children nationwide.

This week also marked the first Congressional vote taken by the House of Representatives on the expiring tax cuts. The bill considered was largely along the lines of the President’s request to extend tax cuts for households making $250,000 a year or less. Included in this package were also extensions to expiring provisions of the important refundable tax credits for families, the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

However, missing from the House bill was an extension of a key improvement to the EITC, which provides additional support for larger families with more than 2 children. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, if this provision is allowed to expire, 3 million working families and 9.7 million children across the US will be affected. The ultimate fate of this provision, also known as the EITC third tier, is as yet unclear, but as of yesterday evening, it was included in the most recent Senate Finance Committee tax proposal released by Chairman Max Baucus.

The link between the ongoing debates over unemployment insurance and the expiring tax cuts may not be explicit, but in this recession, both pieces of legislation represent important pieces of economic security for families with children. And together, both bills have the potential to affect millions of households and tens of millions of children across the country. Given the short remainder of time within the Congressional calendar, the best chance for both pieces of legislation to succeed is if they move together. Luckily for children and families, a combined passage of these programs would be best for them too.