The New Republic - October 20, 2021
An extension of the expanded child tax credit may seem like an obvious contender for inclusion in the Democrats’ massive reconciliation bill that’s set to contain a host of President Joe Biden’s key priorities. Unlike several other proposed programs, the expanded credit has already been implemented and has yielded a clear and measurable impact on child poverty.
The credit’s proponents have argued in favor of a permanent extension, and a House version of the Build Back Better Act followed through, extending it through 2025. However, Democrats are now looking to trim costs of the bill from an initial goal of $3.5 trillion to something closer to $1.5 trillion, the ideal top line proposed by Senator Joe Manchin, one of the biggest Democratic skeptics of government spending on social programs. With costs in mind, progressives in the House are pushing for a final package that implements a grab bag of priority programs for shorter periods of time, as opposed to just a few programs with longer timelines.
The three-year extension of the credit proposed by the House may be a casualty of this bargaining. In two separate meetings with progressives and moderate Democrats at the White House on Tuesday, the president intimated that the feasible path for the child tax credit was a one-year extension as expanded in the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, passed in March. According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the president also discussed the possibility of permanent refundability, a key change made by ARPA that allows the lowest-income Americans to receive the full credit. (The other major changes made by ARPA include raising the amount to $3,600 per year for children under 6 and $3,000 for children between ages 6 and 17 for parents under a certain income threshold, and distributing installments on a monthly basis.) ...
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