WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democratic lawmakers are currently working on a plan that could expand the child tax credit to send recurring monthly payments to adults with children, according to The Washington Post.
The payments would be included in President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package.
Lawmakers told the paper the plan will ideally include an option for taxpayers to receive the full year’s worth of tax credit when filing instead of a monthly payment.
Under the current tax law, the child tax credit is not refundable. According to the report, monthly payments would allow for payments to be “refundable” and applicable to more Americans.
The proposal only expands the benefit for 2021, but Democratic lawmakers hope to make the program a permanent change, according to the paper.
Similar to stimulus payments, the IRS would send checks directly to families. The plan would not require taxpayers to file their taxes before they can receive the payments.
President Biden’s stimulus plan
Biden stressed in his Thursday speech announcing the plan that low interest rates mean the government should borrow now in hopes of having faster growth and a more stable financial outlook in the future.
“If we invest now boldly, smartly and with unwavering focus on American workers and families, we will strengthen our economy, reduce inequity and put our nation’s long-term finances on the most sustainable course,” Biden said.
The question is what elements of the Biden plan can win enough Republican votes to clear the evenly split Senate, where at least 60 votes will be needed. Without Republican buy-in, Biden’s proposal could pass with a simple majority under budget reconciliation — but that’s a time-consuming process that would limit what Democrats are able to accomplish.
“This is an opening bid. There is a sense from Republican staff that $1.9 trillion is a little rich,” said Bill Hoagland, a former Republican aide who is senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Direct payments: $1,400 stimulus checks
The Biden plan conforms to the view that the federal government can reduce economic inequality and fuel growth by increasing spending on social services and sending cash directly to households.
It would provide direct payments of $1,400 per person to eligible households, temporarily expand tax credits for children and childcare, help childcare providers and enhance jobless benefits and food aid. There would be $400 billion to get the nation vaccinated, including $130 billion that could help schools safely reopen with smaller classes or better ventilation systems.
There is also the possibility that the Biden plan could lead to lasting changes in the social safety net. By temporarily making the child tax credit fully refundable, families who don’t earn enough money to owe federal income taxes would still qualify for the maximum benefit, which the plan would increase to $3000 per year per child, more for children under age 6.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.