WASHINGTON – Democrats haven’t gotten any traction so far in their efforts to expand a cash subsidy for parents, a move that would dramatically reduce child poverty.
Adding child tax credit benefits to a year-end spending bill would require significant GOP support, and Republicans seem unenthusiastic.
“The country frankly doesn’t have the time or the money for the partisan, expensive provisions such as child tax credit,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House committee that oversees taxes.
Several House and Senate Democrats have embarked on a dramatic strategy to save the benefits, which amounted to $300 per child each month for most parents last year. The Democrats have taken hostages: a beloved tax break for research and development costs, as well as several other corporate write-offs that will expire unless Congress acts.
But Republicans are refusing to negotiate, according to Ashley Schapitl, spokeswoman for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chair of the Senate tax committee. Schapitl suggested Democrats would be willing to “expand the reach” of the child tax credit without necessarily insisting on a policy as expansive as what existed in 2021.
“We would negotiate specifics from that starting point, but Republicans have refused to engage at all on the child tax credit,” Schapitl said in an email. “In fact they made clear they would not negotiate on any deal that includes the child tax credit.”
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said Tuesday that he hoped lawmakers could reach an agreement to extend business tax breaks, but that he wasn’t getting “good vibes” on a deal with Democrats because the cost of the child tax credit was too high.
Democrats changed the child tax credit into monthly advance refunds for most parents in the second half of 2021, a policy that slashed child poverty. They intended to make the payments permanent, but couldn’t agree amongst themselves to continue the benefits this year as part of a partisan budget bill.
The year-end funding bill, known as an omnibus, is being crafted by Republican and Democratic lawmakers in both chambers. It will need 60 votes in order to pass the Senate, meaning support from at least 10 Republicans. No Republicans have said they would support the expanded child tax credit as Democrats have publicly proposed.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has proposed his own version of monthly child benefit, but told HuffPost on Tuesday that nobody has approached him about a tax deal expanding the parental credit.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who refused to support the expanded child tax credit as part of a Democrats-only bill earlier this year, has been out of the loop as well.
“I’ve not heard a thing,” Manchin said.