Budget

White House encourages public to file taxes to access child tax credit

Vice President Harris speaks during an event with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to sign an executive order regarding project labor agreements at Irownworks Local 5 in Upper Marlboro, Md., on Friday, February 4, 2022.
Greg Nash

The White House and Democrats are encouraging citizens to get an early start on their tax returns to take advantage of the party’s expansion of the child tax credit, as well as the earned income tax credit for childless workers.

Biden administration officials hosted a Day of Action event on Tuesday to spread awareness of both credits, while encouraging the millions eligible for access to file their taxes.

“Our message today is simple. If you are eligible for the child tax credit, and the earned income tax credit, we want you to get those credits. And you know why? Working families deserve a break,” Vice President Harris said during the virtual event.

Democrats expanded both credits under a sweeping coronavirus relief package President Biden signed into law in early 2021.

Under the expansion, Democrats removed work requirements for the child tax credit and increased the maximum amount families could receive. The temporary expansion also allowed eligible families to access half of the credit via monthly payments.

“And the American Rescue Plan also nearly tripled the maximum earned income tax credit and made it available to workers between 19 and 24 years of age, as well as to workers 65 years old and above. These tax credits are already making a difference,” Harris said, before touting the effects of the child tax credit expansion. 

“Thanks to the child tax credit, we are on a path to cut child poverty in America by 40 percent. That bears repeating.”

Proponents have credited changes made to the child tax credit under the expansion as significant contributors to reducing child poverty.

Many Democrats hoped to make the expansion permanent, eyeing a potential extension in Biden’s Build Back Better plan.

Party leadership initially planned to pass the roughly $2 trillion bill in December, just in time to renew the expansion to ensure monthly child tax credit payments would continue to come out in January. But those efforts stalled after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he opposed the larger plan. 

Democrats intended to use a process known as budget reconciliation to pass the bill, which would allow them to approve the package in the 50-50 Senate with a simple majority. But to pass the plan, Democrats need all of their party’s senators to back it, affording Manchin more sway in the passage of the bill, which Republicans overwhelmingly oppose. 

However, Manchin has signaled some openness to supporting certain elements of the social spending and climate package in recent weeks, despite coming out against a previous version of the legislation.

On Sunday, Manchin suggested in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” that some portions of the bill could see passage in the future, though he said he thinks leaders on both sides of the aisle should have a chance to weigh in on the legislation.

“These are major changes. It is going to change society as we know it … And those changes, there should be a hearing. There should be a markup. And then you’re going to have a better product, whether your friends on the other side vote for it or not. But they have to have input,” he said.

Tags Joe Biden Joe Manchin

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