Senate

More than 450 groups urge Senate to pass Biden package before holidays

A group of more than 450 organizations is calling on the Senate to pass President Biden’s social spending and climate package, which has already been approved by the House, before adjourning for Christmas.

The organizations are specifically asking senators to reject any amendments that would weaken the racial equity impacts of the child tax credit and to not leave for recess until the roughly $2 trillion piece of legislation is passed by the upper chamber.

Signatories of Monday’s letter include Economic Security Project Action, Center for American Progress, the Children’s Defense Fund, the National Urban League, the NAACP, the National Women’s Law Center and UnidosUS.

“When the Build Back Better Act reaches the Senate floor, we strongly urge Senators to reject all amendments including those that would weaken the racial equity impacts of the Child Tax Credit,” the groups wrote in a letter to all 100 senators.

“The Senate must not recess until this critical legislation is passed,” they added.

The version of the Build Back Better Act that the House passed last month would extend the monthly payments for one year, and permanently make the child tax credit fully available for the lowest income families.

Parents with children under the age of six receive $300 a month per child under the program, and $250 a month for each child aged six to 17.

Unless Congress acts, however, the last monthly payment will be made Dec. 15.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told reporters last week that the Internal Revenue Service has advised that Congress pass the legislation by Dec. 28 to ensure that the monthly payments are distributed on Jan. 15.

The signatories wrote that approving the Build Back Better Act would provide a “historic opportunity” to lessen childhood poverty and continue supporting “the most vulnerable children,” especially those that are part of Black and Latino families.

They also said the bill “makes the most significant investments in climate and environmental justice in history and makes transformative improvements in our nation’s care infrastructure.”

Senate Democrats are looking to pass the spending package through budget reconciliation, which would buck a potential Republican filibuster by only requiring a simple majority vote for passage.

All 50 Senate Democrats, however, are not yet on board. Moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have both not said if they will back the bill. Manchin has raised concerns about the size of the legislation and questioned how it could affect inflation, which is currently close to a 40-year high.

Democrats are also waiting to hear from the Senate parliamentarian, who has not yet released her unofficial guidance on what policies are noncompliant with budget rules.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), however, has said his “goal” is to pass the Build Back Better Act before Christmas.

A coalition of civil rights groups penned a letter to Schumer last week urging the upper chamber to approve the spending package “without amendments that would weaken provisions key to the racial equity impact of the Child Tax Credit.”

Naomi Jagoda contributed.

Tags Charles Schumer Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Ron Wyden

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