Democrats renew push for permanent child credit expansion

Democrats renew push for permanent child credit expansion
© Greg Nash

Democrats on Monday renewed their calls to make the expansion of the child tax credit permanent, after the Biden administration announced that monthly payments of the credit would start July 15.

“We must make this lifeline permanent, which is why Congressional Democrats will continue to champion an expanded Child Tax Credit — because we can only Build Back Better by putting families first,” Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTim Ryan slams McCarthy for mocking Capitol physician, mask mandate McCarthy knocks Pelosi, mask mandate: 'This House has broken the country's trust' Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement, deploying a phrase President BidenJoe BidenBriahna Joy Gray: White House thinks extending student loan pause is a 'bad look' Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Former New York state Senate candidate charged in riot MORE often uses to describe his economic-recovery agenda.

The coronavirus relief law Biden signed in March included a one-year expansion of the child tax credit. One part of the expansion was to direct the IRS to make advance payments of the credit from July though December, so that families receive funds in installments throughout the year instead of a single payment when they file their tax returns.

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The law also increased the credit amounts and made the credit fully available to the lowest-income families.

The Treasury Department and IRS said Monday that the monthly payments would start on July 15, and would be made automatically to about 39 million households that include nearly 90 percent of children in the United States.

Democratic lawmakers praised the announcement on monthly payments, saying they will help families with their finances during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Thanks to the leadership of President Biden and Congressional Democrats, nearly 40 million families with children will soon have critical financial relief that will help sustain them during the pandemic and in the days ahead," Pelosi said.

Congressional Democrats also reiterated that they want to make the expanded credit permanent in future legislation, saying the expansion should not have an expiration date. Biden proposed last month in his American Families Plan to make the credit permanently fully refundable, while extending other parts of the expansion through 2025. 

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"These monthly payments cannot simply stop after one year or five years," Democratic Reps. Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroHouse passes spending bill to boost Capitol Police and Hill staffer pay Public charter schools group blasts proposed Democratic cut For true American prosperity, make the child tax credit permanent MORE (Conn.), Suzan DelBeneSuzan Kay DelBeneBiden's keeping the Canada-US border closed makes no sense Biden administration stokes frustration over Canada Reducing compliance burdens for the beauty industry MORE (Wash.) and Ritchie Torres (N.Y.), who have introduced legislation to permanently expand the credit, said in a joint statement. "We remain committed to making the expanded and improved Child Tax Credit permanent in the American Families Plan.”

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealDemocrats release data showing increase in 'mega-IRA' accounts Treasury starts monthly child tax credit payments Progressives ramp up Medicare expansion push in Congress MORE (D-Mass.), whose panel has jurisdiction over taxes, said that making the expansion of the credit permanent is an important way of providing assistance to families.

"Millions of families are counting on us, and the Ways and Means Committee stands ready to make it happen,” Neal said in a statement.

Democrats in the Senate also called for the expansion of the credit to be cemented.

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetLawmakers can't reconcile weakening the SALT cap with progressive goals How Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform For true American prosperity, make the child tax credit permanent MORE (D-Colo.), a leader of efforts on the the child tax credit in the Senate, said in a statement that he is "going to keep fighting to ensure the expansion of the CTC is made permanent.”

One of the top obstacles to making the child tax credit permanent is the cost of doing so. Pelosi argued last week that the cost of child poverty is higher than the cost of cementing the expansion of the credit. 

—Updated at 3:27 p.m.