Oct 20, 2021
Economic justice advocates were joined by a number of powerful Democrats in Congress on Wednesday in warning the Biden administration against abandoning millions of families by slashing the popular child tax credit that's helped households to afford groceries, child care, and other essential expenses.
At meetings with congressional Democrats this week, President Joe Biden suggested the child tax credit (CTC), which was expanded as part of the American Recovery Plan, could be extended for just one year--"a big mistake," according to House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).
"The expanded child tax credit is popular, good for the economy, and a key element of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda. There is absolutely no reason for Congress to consider anything but a long-term extension of the policy."
The CTC provides most U.S. families with monthly tax credits worth up to $300 for each child they have aged six or younger and $250 for children between the ages of six and 17.
DeLauro told reporters Wednesday that she would "continue to pressure for a new framework that's more enduring for children and for families," countering the Biden administration's attempts to appease right-wing Democrats who claim the president's Build Back Better agenda is too expensive.
The Build Back Better Act, which would invest $3.5 trillion over a decade--or roughly $1,000 per year, per Americ-an--to reduce poverty and wealth inequality, mitigate the climate crisis, and improve the well-being of working families, includes an extension of the CTC, which Democrats including DeLauro and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) say should last until at least 2025.
"We laid out a plan that was fully paid for; and we set out our priorities," Neal told reporters Wednesday. "I think family paid medical leave, I think that the child [tax] credit, I think the dependent care credit... ought to remain in the final package as issued."
Neal, who came under fire from progressives this week for proposing a paid leave plan derided as a giveaway to insurance companies, was backed up by the party's left wing, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), regarding the CTC.
\u201cI can\u2019t believe I have to say this, but it is a terrible idea to cut the Child Tax Credit, one of the most popular policies with the American public.\u201d— Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan Omar) 1634666367
The Democrats pushed back against the effort to cut the CTC as a poll released by Fighting Chance for Families, a project of the progressive think tank Data for Progress, showed that 59% of Americans support the expanded CTC and more than half support making permanent the program, which is currently set to end in December if there is no congressional action.
A one-year extension of the program would be "woefully inadequate," said McKenzie Wilson, spokesperson for Fighting Chance for Families.
"It would also be a massive missed opportunity to lock in one of this administration's greatest economic success stories as a pillar of America's commitment to children and families," Wilson added. "The expanded child tax credit is popular, good for the economy, and a key element of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda. There is absolutely no reason for Congress to consider anything but a long-term extension of the policy."
"This should be a no-brainer: Putting money in the pockets of those who need it most is good for the children and families receiving it, good for local businesses, and helps protect this fragile economic recovery," said Wilson. "Members of Congress who have been fighting for this critical policy should stand strong and reject any attempt to allow the child tax credit to be eliminated next year."
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