- Sen. Joe Manchin is noncommittal on extending the child tax credit.
- On Tuesday, he told Insider “everybody’s still talking and working. It’s a work in progress.”
- Millions of children are receiving the CTC, hundreds of thousands of them in Manchin’s home state.
On Tuesday, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia didn’t commit to approving the one-year child tax credit expansion as it’s laid out in the $2 trillion House-approved social spending package. It raises the prospect of further changes to the proposed cash benefit.
“Everybody’s still talking,” Manchin told Insider. “Everybody’s still talking and working. It’s a work in progress.”
He’d previously pushed for a work requirement as a condition to receiving the federal help.
Manchin’s noncommittal approach to the benefit underscores the potential adjustments to the House legislation now traveling through the evenly divided Senate. House Democrats approved the sprawling climate, health, and childcare package which contains the bulk of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda on November 19. Now all 50 Senate Democrats must coalesce around the package so it can clear the upper chamber.
Around $190 billion is set aside to renew the bulked-up child tax credit. It’s reached tens of millions of children in the form of monthly payments since July, including many in Manchin’s home state. Over 346,000 West Virginian kids have qualified for the aid, per the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.
It provides up to $300 a month per child age 5 and under, or $3,600 annually. For children between ages 6 and 17, families can receive $250 each month, or $3,000 yearly. And it would lock in the ability for the vast majority of American families to tap into the aid every month, regardless of whether they file taxes.
Experts and advocates say the measure has played a critical role in cutting child poverty. An August analysis from the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University indicated the child poverty rate dropped to 12% from 16% after the first checks went out. That amounts to three million kids that no longer live below the poverty line.
“It’s kind of a breakthrough idea here in Washington that we should just increase their financial resources to lift them out of poverty, and it’s working,” Andy Boardman, a research assistant at the nonpartisan Urban Institute, said in an interview. “We’re seeing poverty is down among families who are receiving the child tax credit, food insecurity is down. So it’s been hugely, hugely impactful.”
It’s also helped families buy school supplies, cover rent, and put food on the table, Insider previously reported.
The Biden administration has aggressively touted the child tax credit in recent months. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called the sharp drop in food insecurity among families “a profound economic and moral victory for the country” at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
The child allowance has virtually no support among Republican lawmakers. Some like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell assailed it as a “welfare deposit.” The last monthly payment is set to go out on December 15, and 35 million families could be deprived of aid if Congress doesn’t step in.
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