The expanded child tax credit, which was put in place last year after the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, expired at the end of the year after the Senate failed to act on the president’s Build Back Better legislation, which would have extended it for one more year.
Since then, the assumption has been that Congress will engage in further negotiations over the credit’s future, although it appears unlikely that a version similar to the American Rescue Plan Act’s credit will be revived. One possibility would be a bipartisan revival of the “child allowance” proposal introduced by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT). Romney’s plan was first proposed around the time that the American Rescue Plan Act was being debated in early 2021.
In the meantime, the other Republican senator for Utah has released a child tax credit proposal of his own.
An Unorthodox Approach
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) recently announced that he had introduced the Child Tax Credit for Pregnant Moms Act, which would allow pregnant women to claim the child tax credit for their unborn children. The press release announcing the bill includes various indications that it is meant to appeal to the pro-life movement.
“The Child Tax Credit supports families through the increased costs of raising children. It is a societal statement recognizing the value that children and parents bring to our country, and parenthood begins long before birth,” Senator Lee said in a statement announcing the introduction of the bill. “Utah recognizes the value of families more than anywhere else. I am honored to support its expansion and to include expectant mothers whose children are not yet born.”
Mitt Romney is in fact a co-sponsor of the bill. Romney and Lee are joined by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO).
As it is a Republican bill in a Senate with a Democratic majority under a Democratic president, it is unlikely that the bill has any serious chance of being passed.
Some Just Want the Old Credit Revived
On the Democratic side of the aisle, several senators are pushing the president to revive the 2021 version of the child tax credit. Per Fox Business, the senators, who include Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Ron Wyden, (D-OR), cited the credit’s successes in fighting poverty, calling it "the biggest investment in American families and children in a generation.” Senator Brown has been pushing for such a credit for several years.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.