Democrats are looking to introduce another child tax credit provision as the time nears for a year-end Congress spending bill.
The tax credit provision began during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the American Family Rescue Plan in 2021 with the goal to raise children out of poverty. Payments were split in half, with the first batch of monthly payments going to families from July through December and the second batch arriving once families filed their taxes in early 2022. However, the program was only slated to last a year.
Now, as this Congress session approaches its end, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) is making the return of the child tax credit one of his top priorities in the year-end spending, or omnibus, bill, per the Colorado Newsline.
Bennet said he wants to see the tax credit line reinstated after seeing success with the first run. Child poverty fell to a record low in 2021 at 5.2%, declining 46% from 9.7% in 2020, thanks to the child tax credit, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Without it, the child poverty rate would have fallen to only 8.1%, with an additional 2 million children left in poverty, per the report.
“We should have extended it to begin with, we should never have let it lapse,” Bennet said during an interview with Colorado Newsline. “It achieved what we said it would achieve, which is, it cut childhood poverty in America almost in half and it reduced hunger by a quarter.”
Sens. Bennet, Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), along with Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), and Ritchie Torres (D-NY) released a statement in September that they did not want to “extend the corporate tax breaks at the end of this year without also extending the expanded child tax credit.”
As the next Congress session approaches and Republicans are set to reclaim the majority in the House, Democrats seeking to renew the child tax credit expect it to be easier to push it through in December rather than in January.
Bennet said he was confident in reaching the 60 votes needed to move the bill forward, as it will include research and development tax credits.
Back in September, Brown signaled that he would reinstate the child tax credit in exchange for his support on changes to the Republicans’ 2017 tax law regarding research expenses.
“I cannot imagine the Senate will give big tax breaks to big companies and to wealthy people without taking care of kids first,” Brown said during an interview with Insider.
Bennet said the omnibus bill would look different than the American Family Rescue Plan in order to achieve bipartisan support.
Bennet has had several conversations across the aisle, including with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), reports said. Romney has previously stated that Republicans would support the child tax credit return if Democrats approved the bipartisan health, climate, and tax bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, passed by both chambers in August.
“[The child tax credit] did what we said it was going to do, and that’s why it’s all the more tragic that it wasn’t extended before,” Bennet said. “It’s why I hope there’s going to be real energy to try to get it done at the end of the year.”