WASHINGTON — The last of the child tax credit payments is due Wednesday unless the Senate can pass President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better legislation before the new year and send it to his office for his signature.
Ten days before Christmas, families across the country receive their final checks as part of the expanded monthly Child Tax Credit payments. Without passage of Biden’s $1.75 trillion economic plan, monthly payments will expire and the child tax credit will return to its much lower pre-pandemic level.
“Parents enter the new year not knowing if they will be able to put food on the table for their children, keep their babies in clean diapers, or pay rent to keep a roof over their family’s heads” , said Patricia Cole. , senior director of federal policy for children’s advocacy group Zero to Three.
The US bailout, signed into law in March, increased the existing $3,000 child tax credit from $2,000 with a $600 bonus for children under 6 for the year of taxation 2021. It also established monthly payments, which began in July and end in December with deposits of $300 for children under 6 and $250 for those aged 6 to 17. The second half will come when families file 2021 tax returns next year.
Since the first payments were made in July, the Treasury Department and the IRS have paid nearly $93 billion to families, according to the agency. Weeks after the first payment in July, data from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey showed that 55% of middle-income families spent their payments on food, more than 26% on clothing and 23% on expenses. related to school. and after school.
The biggest question hanging over Capitol Hill as Congress enters its final legislative sprint of 2021 is whether the Senate will pass the economic safety net and climate bill. The senators have less than two weeks to meet their self-imposed Christmas deadline and it could all hinge on centrist Joe Manchin, DW.Va., the 50-50 Senate kingpin.
The House passed the Build Back Better Act last month, but the Senate will have to amend it to win the votes of all 50 Democratic senators.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Wednesday at her weekly press conference called the payments “essential.”
When asked if the House could draft a separate Build Back Better bill to extend child tax credit payments now, Pelosi said the two could not be separated and that it would move to the House, “whether we could pass it in the Senate remains to be seen.”
“But I don’t want to let anybody get away with BBB saying, ‘Well, we covered that thing,’ so now the pressure is off,” Pelosi said. “I think that’s a really big lever in a discussion about the BBB that kids and their families are suffering without this payment.”
ParentsTogether Action, a non-profit family advocacy organization, conducted an investigation of its more than 2.5 million members before final payment.
When asked what would happen to their family’s finances if payments stopped after this month, 50% of respondents said it would be harder for them to provide for their family’s basic needs and 36% said they would no longer be able to meet their family’s basic needs. Needs.
Bethany Robertson, co-director of ParentsTogether, called on the Senate to vote now on Build Back Better because “millions of families are on the brink.”
Pelosi concluded her press conference by saying she was “still optimistic” about Build Back Better being adopted, and “maybe even if it was after the first of the year, which I hope that it’s not, that it could be retroactive if it’s early enough in the first of the year.”