Top Dem vows party won’t let expanded child tax credit expire at month’s end

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 following the closed-door House Democratic Caucus meeting.
Greg Nash

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday voiced confidence that Democrats would not allow the expanded Child Tax Credit to expire at the end of the month as scheduled.

During a press conference, Jeffries defended the expanded credit as transformative for American families and said House Democrats “will not allow this tax credit to expire” and added he doesn’t “believe that the Senate will either.”

Jeffries said President Biden stressed to the party that the credit stood at “the top of the list” of Democratic-backed priorities tucked away in his sprawling social spending plan, dubbed the Build Back Better Act, that the party is working quickly to pass through Congress.

Democratic leadership has set sights on passing the massive spending package, which the party has worked months to craft in both chambers, before the coming Christmas holiday. Included in the plan is a one-year extension of the expanded credit, which is set to expire at the end of the month. 

Many in the party support the expansion, with a number of Democrats backing an even longer extension to the initiative weeks back. But an earlier proposal for a four-year extension to the expanded credit was scaled down in the bill amid pushback by lawmakers like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key centrist, who called for more requirements for the benefit. 

Democrats are planning to pass the plan using a complex process known as budget reconciliation, which will allow the party to approve the plan in the upper chamber with a simple majority vote, bypassing a likely filibuster from Republicans strongly opposed to the package.

But that means the party will need the vote of every Democrat in the 50-50 split Senate to pass the plan, along with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Harris, giving Manchin significant influence over the plan. 

Despite pushback from Manchin, who recently voiced concerns about inflation as he urged fellow Democrats against rushing efforts to pass the reconciliation plan, Jeffries said he thinks Democrats will be able to finish work on the package and the extension to expanded credit soon. 

“It’s my expectation that this is going to get done and the Build Back Better Act is going to get done,” he said.

“That’s a Democratic initiative that we support that has been important and critical and that we are determined to make sure continues,” Jeffries added.

Tags Build Back Better Child tax credit Hakeem Jeffries Joe Biden Joe Manchin spending plan

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