Report: Tax credits for families could be streamlined

The child credit was first enacted more than 15 years ago, and both Presidents George W. Bush and Obama expanded it. Congress extended the expansions contained in the 2009 stimulus package through 2017 in the "fiscal cliff" deal.

According to CRFB, the credit will cost roughly $550 billion over a decade, if those expansions expire as scheduled. If not, the break will cost around $600 billion.

Proponents of the credit say that it’s a needed safety net for children, with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities saying that the child credit and Earned Income Tax Credit helped almost 5 million children out of poverty.

Many conservatives also favor tax preferences for having and raising a family, though some have also pointed to a Treasury audit that found billions of dollars in credits handed to unauthorized workers.