Here’s Why Mitch McConnell Was Terrified of the American Rescue Plan

Here’s Why Mitch McConnell Was Terrified of the American Rescue Plan

McConnell feared the child tax credit would turn the United States into a “European-style social welfare state.”

A forthcoming book suggests that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was unnerved by the enhanced child tax credit because he believed that the social program would be too popular for Republicans to cut even if they eventually regained control of Congress.

As reported by Insider, This Will Not Pass claims that “if Americans grew used to the benefits in the new law, [McConnell] suggested, it would become politically untenable for Republicans to repeal its most popular measures.”

The report continued: “The country, McConnell lamented, might cross a point of no return toward becoming a European-style social welfare state—exactly the outcome he had spent his career arguing against.”

In the second half of last year, the American Rescue Plan-approved program provided eligible parents with a $250 or $300 payment for each child every month. However, largely due to opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the enhanced credits were never extended through the Build Back Better legislation. The conservative-leaning lawmaker contended that doing so would only discourage people from working and that any additional federal spending would further exacerbate record-setting inflation.

Without Build Back Better, the maximum child tax credit has fallen by $1,000 per school-aged child and $1,600 per child under six. Moreover, millions of the nation’s lowest-income families have become ineligible for the credits once again.

Meanwhile, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has proposed his own version of a monthly cash benefit program. Known as the Family Security Act, it aims to give eligible families with children up to five years of age $350 per child and families with children older than that $250 per child. In contrast to Democrats’ proposals, Romney’s plan comes with work requirements attached to the payments, which is likely in an effort to gain more bipartisan support in an evenly divided Senate.

Amid the lack of enhanced federal benefits that have helped keep millions of children out of poverty, analysts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) are now pushing state governments to create their own version of the child tax credits.

“Child tax credits are an important way that policymakers can help families make ends meet, help children thrive now and in the future, and help families and communities recover from the pandemic,” the analysts write. “The federal credit should be expanded, and states should also create and improve their own CTCs (among other tax credits that help households with low incomes). … Federal and state child tax credits are an effective way to target tax reductions to people and communities that could most use the help.”

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Image: Reuters.