Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is going forward with a Republican-friendly version of the enhanced child tax credit that aims to garner bipartisan support.
The senator’s proposal would bring back the popular monthly payments for six more months. In comparison, the stalled Build Back Better package called for adding another twelve months.
Focus on a Bipartisan Bill
Like Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) current stance, Romney’s enhanced credit proposal would add strict work requirements.
“While the additional work requirements and the reduced safety net programs could be tough pills for Democrats to swallow—even before they consider the sticky issue of tax reform—a bipartisan bill might be the only way for the expanded child tax credit to land on President Joe Biden's desk,” NBC News writes.
A senior GOP aide familiar with the proposal also told the news outlet that “I think momentum is growing quite a bit, and there’s more interest because folks on the right want to do something. I think folks on the left are realizing if they don’t do it bipartisan, it’s not going to happen.”
Between July and December last year, the American Rescue Plan provided eligible parents as much as $3,600 for children under the age of six and up to $3,000 for children between ages six and seventeen. Broken down, this all meant that a $250 or a $300 payment for each child was disbursed to parents each month. These eligible households are now entitled to the second half of the tax credit money when they file a tax return this year.
However, without Build Back Better, it appears that the nation’s lowest-income earners would likely suffer the most. The maximum child tax credit would plummet by $1,000 per school-aged child and $1,600 per child under six. In addition, millions of families who don’t meet the income thresholds would become ineligible for the money once again.
Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), who has shown a willingness to scale back eligibility for the enhanced credits, pressed President Joe Biden in a letter to keep the enhanced child tax credit as the “centerpiece” of Build Back Better.
“Without the expanded credit, nearly ten million children will be thrown back into or deeper into poverty this winter, increasing the monthly child poverty rate from roughly 12 percent to at least 17 percent,” the senators wrote.
“After historic progress, it is unacceptable to return to a status quo in which children are America’s poorest residents and child poverty costs our nation more than $1 trillion per year. Raising taxes on working families is the last thing we should do during a pandemic,” the senators added.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science 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.