Moms Love the Child Tax Credit. Can Joe Biden Make it Permanent?

Moms Love the Child Tax Credit. Can Joe Biden Make it Permanent?

They're joining a growing number of calls to make the tax credit a regular feature of the U.S. tax code. 

Roughly thirty-five million American families were expected to receive the first monthly child tax credit payment made by the IRS last week, and some family advocates are already launching calls to make the expansion permanent.

And one of them is Sasha Demskie, 46, of Conway, Arkansas, who has remained unemployed since April when she was hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Demskie, a college-educated data analyst with a nine-year-old daughter, hasn’t been able to collect state-level unemployment benefits, though she did receive a $250 payment from the federal government as part of the expansion of the child tax credit.

“Anything that’s coming from the government right now is greatly needed,” she told CNBC.

The enhanced child tax credit was included in President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan passed in March. Although the credit has been available to parents for several years, Biden’s rescue package boosted the original credit amount from $2,000 to $3,000 for each child between the ages of six and seventeen and allowed eligible families to receive as much as $3,600 for each child under the age of six.

The IRS will send the enhanced credit on a monthly basis from July through December largely by direct deposit, while the rest of the credit can be claimed when parents file taxes next year.

The payments include up to $300 monthly payments per child under age six, and $250 per month for children ages six to seventeen.

Millions of low-income families also qualify for the credit since the relief package made it fully refundable. In the past, the credit was only partially refundable, making many low-income families unable to receive the money.

Demskie also joined a group of mothers from all fifty states who wrote a letter to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, arguing that the child tax credit expansion should be permanent to help them handle responsibilities at home and at work.

“As mothers, we say loud and clear: we need help,” they wrote. “Many moms want to be at work right now, but have either been laid off or can’t return because of demands at home.”

They added, “It is time for our government to have our backs.”

The IRS and Treasury Department reported that the enhanced child tax credit payments can help reduce child poverty by fifty percent.

Several congressional Democrats and Education Department officials have added to the calls for the expansion to become permanent, contending that the measure would prevent more kids from entering poverty. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also stood behind the effort last week when she said in an interview that the credit is “very important to continue.”

It will likely be an uphill battle for child tax credit advocates to see the measure become permanent, especially since a permanent expansion would cost roughly $1.5 trillion over ten years, according to Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Republicans have also blasted Biden for pumping too much money from the federal government into the pockets of Americans, citing the labor shortages across the U.S.

And not all Democrats back making the expansion permanent, though some have expressed support in extending the 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.

Image: Flickr