- Biden supports making a temporary boost to a tax credit for parents permanent, a Democratic aide said.
- The stimulus legislation would provide up to $3,600 per child to households for one year.
- Senate Democrats want to make this permanent and to give families the option of monthly checks.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
President Joe Biden told House Democrats on Wednesday that he supported making the temporary beefed-up child tax credit in his stimulus plan permanent, a Democratic aide briefed on the call told Insider.
The president spoke to House Democrats as part of a virtual caucus event. During a private portion of the event, he told Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington that he supported legislation to keep the expanded $3,000-per-child tax credit.
The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of a private call. The Washington Post first reported the development.
It’s the first time Biden has indicated support for keeping the expanded child tax credit. It’s only a one-year measure in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that the House recently passed. The Senate is expected to start debate on the bill sometime Thursday.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said on Thursday the president was open to the idea.
“The president is interested in exploring options for making the child tax credit permanent as part of the ‘Build Back Better’ agenda,” Psaki said. “He’s been heartened to see bipartisan support for ideas like this, including from Republicans like Sen. Romney.”
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah rolled out a child benefit plan in early February that would also provide monthly checks to parents.
The relief legislation would dramatically revamp the child tax credit, a major Democratic priority. The emergency provision would provide $3,600 to parents with children ages 5 and under and distribute $3,000 to those with kids between 6 and 17 years old.
Individuals earning $75,000 and under would get a full check, along with couples making up to $150,000. Similar to the stimulus checks, the payments start diminishing above those income thresholds.
Households could opt for recurring checks from the federal government instead of a lump sum at tax time. The House bill authorized “periodic” payments for the measure to clear procedural hurdles in the Senate.
Researchers at Columbia University have projected that the measure could cut the child poverty rate in half and lift millions of Black and Latino children out of poverty. That has provided a boost to Democrats pressing to make it a permanent part of the nation’s social safety net.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, the chair of the Senate Banking Committee, said on a press call on Wednesday that he was confident that every Democratic senator would back the push. “I can’t imagine any Democratic senator wants to see the child poverty rate double in this country,” he said.
The Democratic effort is likely to spark debate later this year on how to finance a new federal program and may trigger significant Republican opposition. The expansion is estimated to cost more than $100 billion for one year, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, or above $1 trillion over a decade if it’s made permanent.
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, assailed it as “an administrative nightmare” in a recent interview with Insider.
It has “nothing to do with the pandemic, and it is something that’s almost mechanically impossible to carry out because they want to send checks out,” Grassley said.