Just as the IRS and Treasury Department began disbursing the first of six child tax credit payments on Wednesday, a group of congressional Democrats renewed calls for the expansion of the program to become permanent.
The group, which includes Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), as well as Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), argue that while “today is a historic day,” the enhanced credit falls short of what American families need to comfortably raise their children and to prevent more kids from entering poverty.
“Today is a historic day for American families. With the delivery of the first round of expanded Child Tax Credit payments, help is here for parents that have been struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic. The expanded credit will provide relief to nearly sixty-six million children—close to ninety percent of all kids in this country. This is one of the single most impactful and transformative parts of the American Rescue Plan,” the group of lawmakers said in a joint statement.
They added, “The expanded credit is in place for only one year. We cannot stop now. Kids do not grow up in one year or five years. Parents deserve the predictability a permanent expansion would provide as they raise their families. We must seize this moment to permanently expand the credit. Doing so would cut childhood poverty in half and help us rebuild our middle class for the next generation.”
The enhanced child tax credit was approved as part of the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus package in March, a measure that aims to alleviate child poverty and provide struggling families with additional cash to combat the economic impacts of the pandemic.
President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan spiked the credit from $2,000 to $3,000 for each child between the ages of six to seventeen and allowed eligible families to receive as much as $3,600 for each child under the age of six.
If families have dependents that are eighteen years old, they can qualify for $500 each. Dependents between the ages of nineteen and twenty-four and are full-time college students also qualify for the $500 boost.
During a press conference on Wednesday, DeLauro, alongside her five Democratic colleagues pushing for the expansion of the credit, argued, “We have a real opportunity to not just throw money at a problem, but to...lift up all children and families.”
But ever since the rescue package passed, Democratic lawmakers have pressured the Biden administration to make the expanded child tax credit permanent.
Biden, however, has only indicated that he would extend the child tax credit through 2025.
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill.