Democrats further effort to expand child tax credit to $3,600

Greg Nash

Democrats are furthering their efforts to expand the child tax credit in an attempt to reduce poverty and provide more assistance to families amid the coronavirus pandemic.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) is expected on Monday to introduce his panel’s portion of House Democrats’ broader coronavirus relief package, which is expected to include a one-year expansion of the child tax credit.

Additionally, Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) on Monday reintroduced a bill to permanently expand the credit.

“This is the moment for the child tax credit expansion,” DelBene, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, said Monday during a video press conference. “If we don’t act now, we’ll miss a historic opportunity to give millions of children a brighter future.”

Both measures would make the credit fully refundable, so that lower-income families can receive the full credit amount. They would increase the annual credit amounts from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under age 6 and $3,000 for older children.

The expanded credit amounts would phase out for higher earners, though the thresholds are slightly different in the two proposals.

Additionally, the measures call for the IRS to make advance payments of the credits on a monthly basis, so that families could receive payments of $300 per month for children under 6 and $250 per month for older children. Each bill directs the IRS to establish an online portal in which taxpayers can notify the agency about changes that occur during the year pertaining to income, number of children and marital status.

Neal’s proposal, a draft of which was obtained by The Hill, calls for the monthly payments to start in July. The Washington Post first reported on Neal’s proposal.

“The pandemic is driving families deeper and deeper into poverty, and it’s devastating. We are making the Child Tax Credit more generous, more accessible, and by paying it out monthly, this money is going to be the difference in a roof over someone’s head or food on their table,” Neal said in a statement. “This is how the tax code is supposed to work for those who need it most, and so long as I am Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, it’s what you can expect to see from us.”

The Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote on its portion of the coronavirus relief package later this week. The relief measure is expected to be in line with President Biden’s $1.9 trillion proposal. Biden included a one-year expansion of the child tax credit in his plan.

Expanding the credit has long been a priority for Democrats, and lawmakers argue that the pandemic has heightened the need for such an expansion.

“We have presidential leadership, strength in the Congress, and the urgency of a pandemic demanding action,” DeLauro, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said during Monday’s press conference.

Several Republicans have also expressed support for increasing benefits for families with children, though they would take different approaches. Last week, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) released a proposal to replace the child tax credit with monthly payments administered by the Social Security Administration.

Tags Child tax credit coronavirus relief House Ways and Means Committee IRS Mitt Romney Poverty Richard Neal Rosa DeLauro Social Security Administration Suzan DelBene taxes
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