Could $3,600 Child Tax Credit Return? Here’s What Bernie Sanders Is Proposing

President and First Lady Hold First Congressional Picnic in 2 Years at White House, Washington, District of Columbia, United States - 12 Jul 2022
Bonnie Cash / UPI /

Sen. Bernie Sanders seems doggedly persistent in terms of re-introducing a federal child tax credit as of late, pushing for such on the heels of sweeping economic legislation in the form of President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

When Senate Democrats met to hammer out details and the vote on the scaled-down Inflation Reduction Act during what they called a “vote-a-rama” on Aug. 6, the Vermont progressive was in a combative mood.

“I will be introducing an amendment to expand the $300 a month child tax credit for the next 5 years paid for by restoring the top corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent,” Sanders said from the Senate floor, according to Newsweek.

The proposition is in response to the elimination of the enhanced federal child tax credit (CTC) that was in place last year — as well as the rejection of the Build Back Better framework, which was opposed by all Republicans and declared “dead” by Senator Manchin at the beginning of February, per CNN.

By expanding the CTC significantly for 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) created the largest U.S. child tax credit ever and gave most working families $3,000 per child under 18 years of age and $3,600 per child aged 6 and younger.

The ARP also made the credit fully refundable and provided tax credit options for many families to receive the credit in installments. The enhanced credit has reverted to its original maximum amount of $2,000 per child for 2022. If Sanders is successful in his amendment, the enhanced CTC would replace the standard maximum credit for an additional five years — into 2027 — ostensibly via targeted tax hikes.

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Sanders Not Entirely Happy With Inflation Reduction Act

Sanders has frequently voiced his dissatisfaction with the IRA, claiming it didn’t expand enough on issues like health care, childcare and housing. So, his CTC extension motion was perhaps expected by those in attendance.

According to The Guardian, Sanders said he plans to hit the trail for Democrats to drum up support for the party moving forward. In an apparent swipe at Manchin and fellow Democratic centrist Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Sanders said, “Give us two or three more seats so we don’t have to make compromises with corporate Democrats.”

“At this particular moment, we cannot leave it to conservative Democrats to define the direction in which Congress and the Democratic party is going,” he added.

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