- House Democrats want to renew the Biden child tax credit until 2025.
- But that may set off a clash with Senate Democrats who are weighing a shorter timeline.
- The vast majority of American families can receive cash from the benefit program.
House Democrats are pressing to renew the revamped child tax credit through 2025, potentially setting up a clash with their Senate counterparts who are eyeing a shorter extension in the $3.5 trillion social spending plan.
The Democratic plan from the House Ways and Means Committee, released on Friday night, aligns with the proposal that President Joe Biden unveiled in the spring: It would maintain the bulked-up benefit for another four years and lock in the credit’s ability to be issued as monthly payments to the vast majority of American families.
It would also allow low-income families who don’t earn enough to owe taxes to tap into the entire benefit permanently, known as full refundability. Other parts of the bill include low-income housing tax credits, an expansion of Medicaid coverage, and prescription drug reforms authorizing the federal government to negotiate lower prices for seniors.
“Taken together, these proposals expand opportunity for the American people and support our efforts to build a healthier, more prosperous future for the country,” Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, chair of the Ways and Means panel, said in a statement.
The child tax credit currently 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.
In March, the Democratic stimulus law turned the credit into a one-year monthly cash benefit, boosting its amount from $2,000. Individuals earning $75,000 and below are eligible for full payments, along with couples making $150,000 and under.
The benefit phases out entirely for singles at $200,000 and couples at $400,000. Those thresholds are unchanged in the House Democratic plan.
But Senate Democrats are considering an extension until 2024 — a presidential election year — and they haven’t decided if they will make it fully refundable beyond that. They’re seeking to avoid crowding out other top priorities in the legislation, like a Medicare benefit expansion, medical and paid leave, and tuition-free community college.
House and Senate Democrats could wrangle over the provision and the limited pot of money available to fund it, similar to another fight underway on either expanding Medicare benefits or making federal subsidies for Affordable Care Act coverage permanent.
The House Democratic timeline would allow the benefit to expire alongside a slate of tax cuts from the 2017 Republican tax law, and Congress would have to address them at the same time. That could pressure Republican lawmakers to support renewing the child allowance in exchange for Democrats extending components of the GOP tax law.
Democrats are poised to muscle through the anti-poverty bill through reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority and sets up a path to circumvent unanimous Republican opposition. But Democrats can only afford three defections in the House and none in the Senate for the bill to pass.
House committees are assembling their parts of the bill, so the child tax credit renewal is still subject to change as Democrats haggle over the size and scope of the plan.