In an effort to help American families face “an extraordinary amount of financial strain,” a revised proposal to create a sustainable monthly child tax credit was introduced by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) on Wednesday.
The Family Security Act 2.0 builds on Romney’s original proposal by encouraging work and supporting pregnancy. It would provide parents with $350 per month for each child age five and under ($4,200 annually) and $250 per month for children ages six to 17 ($3,000 annually).
Additionally, the proposal claims that expectant parents will be eligible to earn $700 a month for the last four months of their pregnancy — $2,800 total.
“We must do better to help families meet the challenges they face as they take on the most important work any of us will ever do — raising our society’s children,” Romney said in a press statement. “This proposal proves that we can accomplish this without adding to the deficit or creating another new federal program without any reforms.”
Romney hopes the federal program’s benefits — supporting families from pregnancy through childhood, encouraging work, promoting marriage and providing equal treatment for working and stay-at-home parents — will appeal to Americans.
Unlike Romney’s original proposal, the updated version has a work requirement. The new plan includes an income threshold of $10,000 annually, indexed for inflation, with those earning less that $10,000 getting a proportional benefit depending on their earnings. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 3.5% of American families — single-parent households, primarily — fall under this $10,000 income threshold.
Like the current child tax credit, an upper income threshold of $200,000 ($400,000 for a couple filing jointly) is where the monthly cash program would start phasing out. About 10.7% of families earn at least $200,000, according to Census data.
“The feedback I got from people outside of government and inside government is you need to have some connection to work,” Romney told Business Insider. “People need to be participating in the workplace.”
To fully fund the Family Security Act 2.0, the plan promises to reform the current federal earned income tax credit and child tax credit by consolidating “overlapping and often duplicative federal policies into direct support for families” and eliminating the “inefficient” State and Local Tax deduction, also known as SALT, according to a program handout.
The proposal is a response to the elimination of the enhanced federal child tax credit that was in place last year and the stalling of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better framework, which was opposed by Republicans and declared “dead” by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) at the beginning of February.
This may make it very difficult for Romney’s proposal to gain any ground. Democrats will likely oppose any proposal that competes with their own Build Back Better program, especially one with income thresholds attached.
Additionally, Romney will need to seek out Republican support, as many are reluctant to back benefit plans without more conditions placed on recipients. To pass in the Senate, the plan needs a supermajority of 60 Republican votes.
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