Child Tax Credit Could Be Revived As Biden Considers Accepting Work Requirements

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Yuri Gripas/UPI/Shutterstock / Yuri Gripas/UPI/Shutterstock

The expanded Child Tax Credit that helped lift millions of children out of poverty before expiring last year could return permanently — if President Joe Biden can convince enough Democrats to attach a work requirement to the program.

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White House officials have privately told congressional Democrats that Biden would back a compromise to revive the expanded CTC even if it includes a requirement that at least one parent work, according to a Politico article that cited comments from unnamed sources.

“Something insane would have to happen for there to be no work requirement,” one person involved in the talks told Politico.

As previously reported by GOBankingRates, the Biden administration’s 2021 American Rescue Plan expanded the CTC from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children over the age of 6, and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under the age of 6. But efforts to extend the credit last year fell short amid opposition by Republicans and certain Democrats.

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Some of those who opposed the extension said they would only support a new CTC bill if it included a parental work requirement. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, resisted any expanded CTC that would go to families with no working parent.

Many Democrats, including Biden, have resisted attaching a work requirement to legislation. But that could change if it means passing an expanded CTC during the current lame-duck session of Congress — and before Republicans take control of the U.S. House in 2023.

A greater number of Democrats might support a work requirement if it means passing legislation during the current session. This will likely require compromises on both sides of the political aisle, such as restoring expiring business tax breaks in exchange for a more generous CTC.

Nearly 4 million children fell back into poverty when the expanded credit expired, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy. In order to bring poverty rates back down again, White House officials are urging lawmakers to pursue any deal they can get before time runs out.

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“All of us working on this issue feel like this is it, this is the moment,” Adam Ruben, director of advocacy group Economic Security Project Action, told Politico. “The politics don’t get easier next year with divided government.”

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This likely means that lawmakers who once opposed a work requirement will have to agree to one to have any chance of putting the expanded CTC back into play. The Biden administration has been tight-lipped about what it would support, at least publicly. In private, a White House spokesperson reportedly told Politico that the president “welcomes a conversation with anyone — Democrat or Republican — who has tax relief ideas to help families and children.”

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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