Democratic lawmakers are reportedly writing legislation that could fulfill President Joe Biden's wish to expand the child tax credit. The new legislation would ask the IRS to send American families with children monthly payments, even beyond the coronavirus pandemic. Americans with young children would see up to $3,600 in a year per child, or $3,000 a year for an older child, officials told The Washington Post Saturday.
One draft of the plan would order the IRS to send families $300 per month for each child younger than 6 years old and $250 per month for each child 6 to 17. This would be different than one-time stimulus checks, as the Biden administration and Democrats hope this could be long-term assistance to American families, three senior Democratic officials told the Post. The current proposal would keep the program going for only a year, but Democrats hope that Americans would pressure Congress to keep the plan going after a year. The most affluent Americans would not be eligible for the benefit, but Democrats have not set the income level threshold just yet. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal and House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro are both involved in writing the child tax credit expansion, a source told CNN.
The plan is not going to be cheap. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Budget estimates that it could add as much as $120 billion to the federal deficit for just one year. However, Columbia University researchers believe it could help cut child poverty in half in the U.S. Most Congressional Republicans will likely balk at the idea because of the cost, although Sens. Marco Rubio and Mike Lee have proposed increasing the child tax credit in the past.
Although the White House has not explicitly commented on the effort, Biden said he wanted to expand the child tax credit. His $1.9 trillion proposals to help Americans and the economy would do so for one year. He wants to make it fully refundable so more households can claim it. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates 27 million children are living in low-income families that receive partial or no tax credit since they earn too little, notes CNN.
The new proposal would have the IRS send the payments directly to Americans, similar to how the stimulus payments were distributed last year. Taxpayers would not have to wait until they file tax returns to get the credit, and families would receive the benefits even if they owe taxes. "This will have more collective buy-in if a broader swath of the population directly receives the payment," a Democratic aide told the Post. Democratic lawmakers also hope the Treasury Department can build a website where parents can manage the credit's disbursal, sources told the Post.