'Stimulus Checks' Forever? Is It Time to Permanently Expand the Child Tax Credit?

'Stimulus Checks' Forever? Is It Time to Permanently Expand the Child Tax Credit?

Researchers certainly think so. 

For millions of financially wounded Americans with children, the current third round of $1,400 coronavirus stimulus checks under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan just wasn’t enough.

This is, however, great news for these hardworking parents. Beginning July 15, nearly forty million families will start receiving monthly cash payments via the expanded child tax credits.

Know that this newest cash windfall is due to Biden’s highly ambitious $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that enabled the expansion of these child tax credits, which were generally set aside for families to claim a credit of up to $2,000 for children under the age of seventeen. But now, these credits have been extended to even more parents amid the pandemic, allowing them to collect as much as $3,600 per year for a child under the age of six and up to $3,000 for children between ages six and seventeen.

Broken down even further, this means that a $250 or a $300 cash payment for each child will head into the pocketbooks of eligible parents every month through the rest of the year.

This may sound wonderful to many parents, but what happens when 2022 rolls around? What can financially struggling families continue to rely on?

With this in mind, in a recent op-ed, Center for American Progress research associates Galen Hendricks and Areeba Haider said they believe that these expanded credits should be made permanent.

“Monthly installments help provide a reliable source of income that can help families plan for the future, making them more financially stable and making the overall economy more resistant to future shocks. This change also puts the credit more in line with other popular benefits that help certain populations meet their basic needs, namely Social Security,” they wrote.

“The pivotal expansions to the child tax credit in the American Rescue Plan will cut child poverty, work toward closing racial disparities and lay the groundwork for creating a stronger and more equitable economy. Congress must now seize this opportunity to extend these benefits, and invest in future generations, by making these changes permanent,” they added.

It appears that there already are plenty of supporters in Washington. For example, Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, recently introduced an ambitious bill that aims to extend the child tax credit permanently.

“For our economy to fully recover from this pandemic, we must finally acknowledge that workers have families, and caregiving responsibilities are real,” he said.

And in a recent press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki touted the potential reach of the nearly $2 trillion American Families Plan, which would extend the credits till 2025.

“If passed, the families of tens of millions of children will continue to get regular payments,” she said. “Obviously, we’re continuing to evaluate what their needs are—to continue to get the pandemic under control, put people back to work, but we think that’s a proposal with a long-term benefit.”

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-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.

Image: Reuters