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Dems offer bill to help single-parent families get expanded child tax credit

Dems offer bill to help single-parent families get expanded child tax credit
© Aaron Schwartz

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) on Thursday introduced legislation aimed at helping single-parent families benefit from the expansion of the child tax credit enacted earlier this year.

The bill would equalize the income thresholds for married-parent households and single-parent households. Currently, the increased credit amounts start to phase out at a lower income level for single parents than they do for married couples.

“There’s no discount for single parents at grocery stores, child care centers, or doctors’ offices, yet the child tax credit gives less help to single parent families," Porter, a single mother of three school-aged children, said in a statement. "I’m proud to introduce legislation today that would eliminate this unfair penalty and give relief to kids in need, regardless of their parents’ marital status.”

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Porter's bill is co-sponsored by more than 50 lawmakers, including Reps. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyIt's past time we elect a Black woman governor House Republicans introduce resolution to censure the 'squad' Progressives rally behind Omar while accusing her critics of bias MORE (D-Mass.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.).

President BidenJoe BidenJapan to possibly ease COVID-19 restrictions before Olympics 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday China supplies millions of vaccine doses to developing nations in Asia MORE's coronavirus relief law increased the child tax credit amount for 2021 from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under age 6 and $3,000 for older children. Currently, the increased credit amount starts to phase out at $150,000 for married couples and $112,500 for those using the head-of-household filing status — a filing status commonly used by single parents.

Under the House Democrats' bill, the income threshold at which the credit would start to be reduced would be $150,000 for both married couples filing jointly and head-of-household filers.

“My bill with Rep. Porter would fix our antiquated tax code to make it easier for single parents to access the critical relief they need to survive this crisis," Pressley said in a statement. "This is a racial, gender, and economic justice issue.”

Porter, Pressley and other House Democrats had urged the House Ways and Means Committee to use the same income thresholds for married and single parents prior to the relief package becoming law.

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The introduction of the new bill comes as Democrats are seeking to make the expansion of the child tax credit last for more than one year. Biden has proposed extending the larger credit amounts through 2025, while many Democrats in Congress have called for the expansion to be made permanent.

"As Congress and the president consider proposals to keep the expanded child tax credit in our post-pandemic tax code, lawmakers should remove the single-parent penalty," Porter wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post. "This would let go of a judgmental policy as to which families our country does or doesn’t value."

Porter said in the op-ed that the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that her bill would benefit more than 400,000 families.