Americans who qualify for enhanced Child Tax Credit benefits might be getting their final advance payments this week, as the program is slated to wrap up on Dec. 15 unless Congress votes to extend it.
The enhanced CTC program is given a one-year extension in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, which has already passed the House. But the legislation is currently hung up in the Senate. If the Senate doesn’t approve the measure, the families of about 61 million children could see their monthly CTC payments come to an end after Wednesday, CBS News reported.
CBS, citing comments from Senate and House congressional aides, added that the IRS has told some lawmakers that the BBB needs to pass by Dec. 28 for payments to be ready by Jan. 15, 2022. Monthly payments, which began in July, are usually distributed around the 15th of each month.
As GOBankingRates previously reported, the enhanced CTC was included in the American Rescue Plan as a way to help families weather the COVID-19 pandemic. It provided advance monthly payments and hiked the benefit for the 2021 tax year to $3,000 from $2,000, with a $600 bonus for children under 6. Monthly payments typically totaled $300 per child under 6 and $250 per child ages 6 to 17.
Congressional Democrats overwhelmingly support the one-year extension, though it has gotten pushback from moderate Dems as well as most Republicans.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who supports the extension, told CBS News he is “very concerned” about the future of the enhanced CTC program and the impact ending it could have on millions of Americans.
“Families have been relying on this to pay the rent, to buy groceries, to pay for a few hours of daycare so they can stay at work,” he said. “We should be fighting very hard not to disrupt it at the end of the year.”
Many Republicans are not sold on the program’s value, however. In an October floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell referred to the enhanced CTC program as “new monthly welfare deposits that can flow directly to people who are here illegally,” Business Insider reported. This apparently was a reference to unauthorized immigrants getting some of the money.
But supporters of the program say it has benefited all kinds of families. The monthly payments have been credited with reducing the number of American children in poverty by more than 40%, according to a November report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
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