Child Tax Credit Revival: Romney Fighting for Major Revisions and Bipartisan Support
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is pushing for bipartisan support of a new enhanced Child Tax Credit that would revive the COVID-19 relief program, which wrapped up at the end of 2021. However, Romney’s version would carry strict work requirements and make major changes to the tax code.
The proposal would bring back the same kind of monthly payments many U.S. parents received during the latter half of 2021 to pay for food and other items, NBC News reported. The last of those payments were sent out in December, and President Joe Biden’s efforts to relaunch the program this year have not won support from Congress.
The enhanced CTC payments were part of the American Rescue Plan and paid out six months of credits worth up to $250 per child aged 6 to 17, and up to $300 per child aged under 6. The program reached more than 61 million children in about 36 million households.
As GOBankingRates previously reported, the program was effective at pulling families out of poverty during the pandemic. But once it stopped, poverty spiked again. A new report from the Columbia University Center on Poverty and Social Policy found that the nation’s child poverty rate rose to 17% in Jan. 2022 — after the payments ended — from 12.1% in Dec. 2021.
Romney has mainly worked with GOP lawmakers on the plan, NBC News said, but recently opened talks with Democrats, as well. It might be a tough sell getting Dems to agree to attaching work requirements to the benefit, though.
“As I’ve said in the past, work requirements don’t work, as study after study has shown,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) told NBC News. “We shouldn’t punish children simply because their families are struggling to find work, particularly during a pandemic.”
Romney doesn’t specify what kinds of work requirements would be included in his proposal. However, the typical requirement for state-level programs is 80 hours of work a month, or a comparable amount of job training or volunteer work. Romney has said that one possible requirement would be proof of employment from a parent.
His plan also includes revisions to the tax code, such as eliminating the head of household filing status and the Child and Dependent Care tax credit. The latter is used to help offset the cost of child care for working parents.
In addition, Romney would eliminate the state and local tax deduction; get rid of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), also called welfare; and make major cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
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