As the first round of monthly payments from an expanded child tax credit are set to go out on Thursday, Democrats in Congress and progressives elsewhere are calling for them to go beyond the time they’re set to expire later this year and become permanent.
The payments will be sent to every American family with at least one child in their home under the age of 18. Individual parents are eligible for the full credit if they earn less than $75,000 per year, and for joint filers if they earn less than $150,000 annually.
For each child under the age of six, families can expect a payment from the IRS of $300 on the 15th of every month through December this year. For each child over that age but under 18, families can expect payments of $250 per month.
Payments will be sent to households representing around 60 million children across the U.S., equivalent to around 88 percent of all children in the country. According to the Treasury Department’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Lily Adams, 86 percent of payments will be made available immediately by direct deposit into parents’ bank accounts.
The payments, which were passed as part of the American Rescue Plan in March, are considered the biggest anti-poverty program launched by the federal government in generations. Economists are predicting that the benefit could result in halving the childhood poverty rate currently seen in the United States.
“It provides children and their families with additional payments throughout the year that help them with the cost of food, child care, diapers, health care, clothing and taxes,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-California), who has pushed for these payments for decades, said earlier this year in promoting the tax credits.
Because of how significant an impact these payments will likely make, the White House this past spring called for them to go beyond December 2021 when they are set to expire.
President Joe Biden “is committed to working with Congress to achieve his ultimate goal of making permanent the Child Tax Credit as well as all of the expansions he signed into law in the American Rescue Plan,” read a statement from the White House in April.
That goal may well become a reality — if Democrats in Congress succeed in passing their proposed budget.
Democrats in the Senate Budget Committee this week announced a deal for such a budget, which would include much of what the president has asked for in his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. Among the numerous items in the budget, is an extension of the direct payments to American families, although it is unclear whether they would become permanent or expire at some future date.
Even if the budget deal proposed by Democrats does attempt to make the payments permanent, that plan could change depending on how centrist Democrats feel about the costs associated and whether they are willing to go along with it for an indefinite period. As the budget deal gets negotiated in Congress later this year, amendments to the proposal by Senate Budget Committee Democrats could very well alter plans for the future of these tax credits.
Americans by and large are supportive of making direct payments to families a permanent thing. According to a recent Data for Progress poll, 56 percent of likely voters back extending the Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue plan, while only 36 percent are opposed to doing so.