Why Might the Expanded Child Tax Credit Be a Possibility Again?

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Many people were hoping for another stimulus check from the federal government, but no new payment has been announced this year. The last federal stimulus check was approved in March 2021, while the expanded child tax credit (CTC) ended last year as well. Another federal stimulus check, however, is still possible as some lawmakers are advocating for sending direct payments for children.

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Expanded Child Tax Credit: What’s The Need?

Earlier this week, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-California) issued a press release informing that he sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer about providing additional stimulus money to some Americans.

Schiff, specifically, urged Democratic lawmakers to offer the expanded child tax credit again. The American Rescue Plan Act, which was approved by President Joe Biden last year, offered $1,400 stimulus checks, as well as expanded the child tax credit to up to $3,600 per child.

This expanded child tax credit ended in December of last year, but Schiff wants this program to be continued indefinitely.

"As you consider any potential end-of-year package and tax extender bills to be brought to the Floor for a vote, I write to ask that you prioritize extending and making permanent the expanded monthly refundable Child Tax Credit," Schiff said in the letter.

Supporting his argument, Schiff said that last year’s expanded Child Tax Credit helped pull 3 million children out of poverty. The program also helped drastically reduce the child poverty rate by around 40% between 2020 and 2021. According to U.S. Census Bureau Data, child poverty was at a record low of 5.2% during the period.

“Overwhelming evidence has shown that the enhanced CTC undoubtedly benefited American families and helped grow our economy,” Schiff said in a press release.

Citing an estimate from researchers at Columbia University, Schiff noted that the CTC played a crucial role in reducing the child poverty rate from 15.8% in June 2021 to 11.9% in July 2021, lifting 3 million children out of poverty in just a month.

However, just a month after the expanded child tax credit expired, i.e., in January of this year, almost 4 million children fell back into poverty. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that 9.9 million children are facing the risk of falling back below the poverty line, including 7 million children of color.

Growing Support For Expanded CTC

Apart from Schiff, several other lawmakers have also come out in support of the expanded child tax credit lately. Expanding the child tax credit has even been one of the key priorities of the Biden administration.

Last month, Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting them to reinstate the monthly refundable child tax credit. The letter also asked for expanding the earned income tax credit.

Despite the growing support for the expanded child tax credit, it is unclear if it would get enough support to become law. However, if more lawmakers join the list, then the expanded child tax credit could be a reality again.