House panel releases spending bill section on child tax credit, infrastructure financing

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The House Ways and Means Committee late Friday released an additional tranche of its portion of Democrats’ $3.5 trillion social spending package, covering a wide range of issues such as the child tax credit, infrastructure financing, clean energy incentives and health care.

The release of the 645-page bill section comes after the committee approved several other portions of the bill, including those on paid family leave and expanding Medicare, earlier this week. The committee is scheduled to consider the new section on Tuesday.

House Democrats are seeking to move quickly on the $3.5 trillion package, aiming to have all committees approve their portions of the legislation by Sept. 15; however, key challenges remain. 

The Ways and Means Committee has yet to release legislative text on any tax increases to offset the cost of new spending. And in order for a final bill to reach President Biden’s desk, it will have to be agreed to by both House and Senate Democrats, who have differences of opinion in some areas.

The new bill text from the Ways and Means Committee would generally extend a one-year expansion of the child tax credit that Democrats enacted earlier this year through 2025 — the same year most of the individual tax changes in Republicans’ 2017 tax-cut law are set to expire. A portion of the expansion that allows the lowest-income families to receive the full credit amount would be made permanent.

Extending the child tax credit expansion is a top priority for Democrats, who see the expansion as a key tool in reducing child poverty. Many Democratic lawmakers have pushed to make the full credit expansion permanent, but doing so comes with a hefty price tag; the provisions in the Ways and Means Committee legislation resemble a proposal from the White House that the Treasury Department estimates would cost almost $450 billion over 10 years.

The bill would also make permanent expansions of the earned income tax credit and the child and dependent care tax credit. Those two credits and the child tax credit had been expanded as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law that Biden signed in March.

Other areas of focus in the bill are infrastructure financing and housing. The bill includes several provisions focused on tax-advantaged bonds, including the creation of a bond program that is similar to the Build America Bonds that were part of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus law. The bill also would expand the low income housing tax credit that benefits developers of affordable rental units.

The bill would extend a number of tax incentives for clean energy, and would create new tax credits for electric-vehicle owners. 

It also includes a number of health-related provisions, such as making permanent an expansion of ObamaCare subsidies and allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices.

Updated: 8:50 a.m.

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