Democrats Reintroduce Legislation To Make Child Tax Credit Permanent

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As congressional Republicans ramp up their attacks on critical social programs, a trio of House Democrats presented legislation on Wednesday to make the enhanced monthly Child Tax Credit permanent—a measure credited with lifting millions of U.S. children out of poverty.

Democrats Reintroduce Legislation To Make Child Tax Credit Permanent. (Photo: Getty Images)

The American Family Act Would Ensure The Long-term Viability Of The Expanded Child Tax Credit

The American Family Act, reintroduced by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), and Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) and supported by 204 House Democrats, would ensure the long-term viability of the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) established by President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package signed into law in March 2021. The extended CTC expired by the end of 2021, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic’s Omicron spike.

The plan would keep the $300 monthly credit for children under the age of six, while increasing the maximum CTC to $250 per month, or $3,000 per year, up from $2,000 under the previous scheme. The law also extends the entire CTC to “left-behind” children by repealing a provision that limited the refundable component to $1,400 per year and eliminating the earnings criterion, which previously barred around one-third of eligible children from receiving the full credit.

According to a summary provided by DeLauro’s office, the expanded CTC will benefit more than 61 million children and bring nearly 4 million children out of poverty by 2021.

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The Child Tax Credit Was A Transformative Policy That Lifted Millions Of Children Out Of Poverty

“When we expanded and improved the Child Tax Credit in 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan, it provided unprecedented economic security for American families,” DeLauro said in a statement. “It was the largest tax cut for middle-class and working families in generations.”

“These monthly payments helped parents pay bills, keep healthy and nutritious food on the table, afford school clothes and supplies, pay for a music lesson or a new pair of cleats, or manage a mortgage or rent payment,” she continued. “It lifted nearly 4 million children out of poverty in just one year; it worked, and it’s time we put it back to work for families and children.”

“The enhanced Child Tax Credit was one of the most transformative policies from the American Rescue Plan, lifting millions of children out of poverty, boosting our economy, and assisting parents in paying rent, putting food on the table, and affording other essentials for their children,” DelBene stated.

“This is a proven program that will help grow our economy by rebuilding and strengthening our middle class,” she continued.

Torres stated, “An investment in our children and their families is an investment in the future of our country.”

“No government program has impacted so many Americans in such a short amount of time,” he remarked. “It’s one of the reasons I was proud to support the American Rescue Plan and why we need to pass the American Family Act: making the Child Tax Credit permanent provides much-needed financial stability for working families, assists them in making ends meet and fighting rising costs, and reduces child poverty.”

“I can’t think of a more worthy cause than helping meet the basic needs of children—our future—so they can learn, grow, and reach their fullest potential,” Torres continued.

The bill’s reinstatement was welcomed by progressive advocacy groups.

“We’re thrilled to see lawmakers prioritizing tax credits for low- and middle-income families with the introduction of the American Family Act today,” said Amy Hanauer, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). “This legislation would benefit millions of children and families, particularly low-income families who currently earn too little to qualify for the CTC.”

“We know the CTC works wonders for economic security; when the expanded credit was implemented in 2021, child poverty was reduced by an astounding 46%,” Hanauer noted. “Restoring a more robust CTC should be a top priority for all lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, but unfortunately, this bill stands in stark contrast to other tax bills in the works that would significantly lower taxes for profitable corporations and wealthy families.”

The resurrected American Family Act comes amid Republican attacks on social programs that benefit families, such as cuts to rental assistance and education programs, as well as the imposition of new work requirements on some recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits as a condition for agreeing to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a historic U.S. default.

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