The expanded child tax credit proved an important weapon in the fight against poverty when it was introduced a couple of years back. Now that the expanded child tax credit has expired, the latest piece of data suggests that the child poverty rate has again surged to pre-pandemic levels.
Several lawmakers have pushed for expanding the child tax credit over the past couple of years, but with little success so far. Now, support is again growing for expanding the child tax credit, with Republican Senator Jason Smith signaling support for making the expanded child tax credit permanent.
Making The Expanded Child Tax Credit Permanent: What’’’s The Need?
The expanded child tax credit, part of the 2021 federal COVID relief package, helped lift about 3 million children out of poverty. The expanded child tax credit expired at the end of 2021, but since then, several attempts have been made to renew it, but with little success.
Almost 2.5 years later, new census data released last week showed that child poverty has surged to pre-pandemic levels. The latest Census Bureau report found that after dropping to its lowest point in 2021, the child poverty rate witnessed the steepest rise in its history in 2022.
This new piece of data has reignited the debate on the need to make the expanded child tax credit permanent, with Senator Smith supporting it.
On Wednesday, Smith, who is also the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, hinted at his intention to make the expanded child tax credit permanent.
“That’s something that I have always supported. I had the legislation to make permanent the $1,000 to $2,000 in child tax credit and pushed for it,” Smith said at a Punchbowl News event. “It’s extremely important to working-class Americans.”
Smith believes the child tax credit could command bipartisan support.
“I think there is common ground,” Smith said.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also supports expanding the child tax credit, but unlike most others, Rubio wants the expanded credit to include work requirements as well.
Will it get enough votes?
Despite growing support for making the expanded child tax credit permanent, particularly among Democrats, it will be a challenge to gather enough votes to push it through Congress.
Some polls, however, suggest cross-party support for expanding the child tax credit. Earlier this year, a Zero to Three/Morning Consult poll found that 94% and 77% of parents who voted for a Democrat and a Republican in 2022, respectively, said the child tax credit issue was an important priority.
A separate poll conducted from April 27 to May 1 and covering 811 parents of children ages 0 to 3 found that 85% of respondents feel it is important for Congress to expand the child tax credit.