White House rules out passing child tax credit as standalone bill

The White House on Thursday ruled out trying to pass an extension of the expanded child tax credit in a standalone bill, saying Democrats would not have the votes to pass it.

“In order to do that, we need the 60 votes in the Senate and we just don’t have that, so that is not an option here,” White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. “What we’re going to continue to do is move forward and have the conversation on Build Back Better and to get that done.” 

Jean-Pierre did not directly answer a follow-up question on whether the White House would be open to removing the child tax credit entirely from President Biden’s climate and social policy bill and not passing it in another bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had already downplayed the possibility of a standalone extension, which would need to garner Republican votes in the Senate to overcome the filibuster — unless it is part of a bill moving through the budget reconciliation process.  

The fate of Biden’s massive domestic package has been thrown into serious doubt this week due to continued concerns about its size and elements from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Manchin is opposed to the one-year extension of the expanded child tax credit currently in the House-passed bill. He has recently told White House officials that he wants the package to include a 10-year extension of the expanded child tax credit, which would make the bill cost substantially more — about $1.5 trillion. At the same time, Manchin has said he wants to keep the overall cost of the bill at $1.75 trillion. 

Senate and White House negotiators have been racing to advance the sweeping package before the Christmas holiday, but that goal now appears out of reach

Several Democrats have been pushing for urgent action on the bill because the final payments of the expanded child tax credit, which was included in Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief measure signed into law in March, went out on Wednesday. 

Without action on new legislation soon, the payments will lapse for many families.

Tags Joe Biden Joe Manchin Karine Jean-Pierre Nancy Pelosi

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