Stimulus Update: Child tax credit gets a new chance and a $2,000 bonus – USA TODAY

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Ryan Ross, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — About 250 U.S. lawmakers are trying to put the $300-a-month child tax credit paid out back into U.S. purses — this time with a $2,000 baby bonus.

It’s a Democratic proposal with enough Republican support to seem more than a wish list and would make permanent the expanded child tax credit signed into law under the American Rescue Plan. The legislation, one of President Joe Biden’s signature programs during his term, increased the tax credit for 2021, with the main increases going to lower-income families and children.

What’s in the new stimulus plan?

The new proposal would:

  • Remove an earnings requirement from the entire credit
  • Expand the child tax credit limit to $250 per month
  • Continue the early child tax credit of $300 per month for children age 6 and under
  • Have a “baby bonus”, an extra $2,000 in the month a new baby is born

That’s according to a fact sheet from Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.

Who is leading the push for a new stimulus?

DeLauro introduced the legislation in June, saying the increased monthly payments have already “helped parents pay bills, keep healthy and nutritious food on the table, pay for school clothes and supplies, pay for a music lesson or a new pair of cleats, or pay a mortgage or rent.”

Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., another sponsor of the legislation, called on her fellow legislators to “build on” the U.S. bailout “by permanently reinstating this monthly benefit to ensure that every child has a fair chance at has success.”

Representative Ritchie Torres, DN.Y., a third major sponsor, said by 2021, the child tax credit reached more than 61 million children and lifted nearly 4 million of them out of poverty. “No government program has affected so many Americans in such a short time,” he said.

Major Democratic figures are among the bill’s 210 co-sponsors, from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y., to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D.N.Y.

A companion bill in the Senate, spearheaded by D-Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, has 40 co-sponsors.

Will there be another incentive payment?

Getting anything through a divided administration is a challenge, with Republicans narrowly holding the House and Democrats narrowly holding the Senate. The clash of the political parties brought the country within hours of defaulting on its debt just over a month ago. Implementing a different tax policy would not be simple or easy.

Despite the challenging odds, it could succeed if it becomes a bargaining chip in spending negotiations that can give both sides what they want — a corporate tax cut for Republicans and a child tax credit for Democrats. Republican members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus could be key negotiators in such a deal, and some conservative senators are also considering the plan.

This is what Rep. Don. Bacon told Punchbowl News last month, “I think the Republicans want to look at it as part of a compromise for the Democrats,” he said. “We know that’s one of their main issues. This could be a bargaining chip we can use.”

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., said he would use his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee to push for that reform, according to Punchbowl News.

“This problem is not dead,” he said, according to the outlet. “It’s going to be a live, open issue for this whole cycle because you have people like me on the committee who really support it.”

But not everyone agrees. Senator Thom Tillis, RN.C., told Punchbowl it was one thing to support child tax relief during the pandemic, but “those times are over.”

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