Democrats urge Biden to make expanded child tax credit permanent in next spending billApril 27, 2021
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A top House Democrat is turning up the pressure on President Biden to include a permanent expansion of the child tax credit in his next big-ticket economic spending package.
Rep. Richard Neal, the chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, on Tuesday released a proposal that would authorize a universal paid family and medical leave program of up to 12 weeks. If adopted, the Building an Economy for Families Act would also make permanent some of the tax benefits implemented earlier this year with the passage of Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, including the expanded child tax credit,
The enhanced credit, which the IRS will begin delivering to families in July, provides $3,000 for every child ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 for every child under age 6. The amounts taper off once income hits $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples; if families earn too much to qualify for the expanded tax credits, they can still receive the $2,000 credit for their children if they earn less than 200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for married couples.
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"It's not enough to only focus on the roads that get Americans to work, we need to modernize the supports that get them through the day," Neal, D-Mass., said in a statement. "This is a time of great need, and we are ready to deliver."
The expansion is poised to sunset this year unless Congress approves additional legislation.
Neal joins a growing number of Democrats who are calling on the White House to make the child tax credit expansion permanent.
"No recovery will be complete unless our tax code provides a sustained pathway to economic prosperity for working families and children," one group of lawmakers said last week. "Permanent expansion of CTC will continue to be our priority." The coalition included Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., as well as Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., and Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y.
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The Democrats' proposals, however, put them at odds with Biden, who's only expected to call for a five-year extension of the child tax credit with the release of his forthcoming spending proposal, dubbed the American Families Plan. Details of the measure remain in flux, but it could include as much as $1.5 trillion in new spending and tax benefits.
The White House said Biden will release the plan before his first address to Congress on Wednesday evening. The legislation will be paid for by new taxes on wealthy Americans, including nearly doubling the capital gains tax rate paid by households earning more than $1 million annually, National Economic Council director Brian Deese said Monday.
Including a permanent expansion of the tax credit would likely send the cost of Biden's proposal soaring: A one-year expansion of the child tax credit will cost about $109 billion, according to one analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation, a nonpartisan congressional body, while making the expansion permanent could cost close to $1.6 trillion, the Tax Foundation reported.
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Experts say the overhaul of the 24-year-old child tax credit could have significant implications for millions of families, particularly low-income households: More than 4 million children could be lifted out of poverty, according to an analysis conducted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities at Columbia University.
Still, the quirky design of the law sometimes means that the poorest families are bypassed and do not receive any money: Families who owed little or no income taxes were only eligible for up to $1,400 per child, rather than the $2,000 benefit provided to wealthier families, according to the Brookings Institute.
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