Five Senate Democrats are urging the White House to prioritize making the expanded child tax credit permanent as part of any potential spending package.
The senators, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Ron Wyden of Oregon, sent President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris a letter Wednesday, calling for the expanded credit’s inclusion in any potential legislation, calling it “a signature domestic policy achievement.”
“The expanded CTC represents the biggest investment in American families and children in a generation,” the Senate Democrats wrote, saying it “enabled their families to afford rent, put food on the table, and pay for child care so their parents and caregivers could stay in the workforce.”
Democrats extended the bolstered credit in March 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan, authorizing monthly checks of $300 to families for each child under six and checks of $250 for each child ages 6-17. But the monthly payments lapsed in December 2021 as Democrats’ Build Back Better Act imploded, leaving millions of working families without the payments that had become a lifeline amid the COVID-19 pandemic and decades-high inflation.
“The consequences of failing to extend the CTC expansion are dire, particularly as families face another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” they wrote. “Without the expanded credit, nearly 10 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.”
Even as Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin signaled that he would be open to restarting talks, it remains unclear whether the credit could earn his support. Manchin said in October 2021 that he wanted it to be tied to a work requirement and more tailored toward low-income earners, even as studies have shown that it led to people working more and advocates warned that such a requirement could burden stay-at-home parents and seasonal or temporary workers with children.
“There’s two really big components that I feel strongly about that I’m not sure I can get in the package,” Biden told reporters in January. “One is the child care tax credit and the other is help for cost of community colleges.”
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