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Why Congress Might Review the Child Tax Credit During the Lame Duck Session

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House and Senate champions and affected families appear at a Dec. 7 event in Washington, DC to expand the child tax credit during the lame duck session.

Tasos Katopodis | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Millions of children were lifted out of poverty in 2021, thanks to a more generous child tax credit that included monthly checks sent to more families.

Now, the lame session of Congress this year offers one last chance to renew the expanded child tax credit that expired in December 2021.

As the end of the year neared, many Democrats on Capitol Hill raised their voices in favor of restoring the more generous child tax credit.

“This is a time when we need to make an enduring commitment, not just in Congress, but as a nation, that no child growing up in the wealthiest country on earth should grow up in poverty,” he said. said Senator Cory Booker. , DN.J., said at an event on Capitol Hill calling for urgent action on the child tax credit.

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The child tax credit was a key policy that helped drive a record drop in poverty in 2021, according to a new report from Democrats at the U.S. Joint Economic Committee.

The number of children living in poverty fell to historic lows as the Child Tax Credit was made available to an additional 19 million low-income children.

According to the Joint Economic Committee, this is largely due to the full repayability of the Enhanced Credit, which made all families eligible for the Full Credit except the highest income families.

The child tax credit was increased in 2021 from $2,000 per child to $3,600 per child under age 6 and up to $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17.. Half of this money was made available in the form of monthly payments of up to $300 per child under age 6 and $250 per child aged 6 to 17. Eligible parents received the rest of the credit when they filed their taxes.

“No corporate tax cut without tax cut for working families”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Sen. Cory Booker, DN.J., and Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., with supporters during a press briefing on expanding the tax credit for children at the lame duck session on December 7 in Washington, DC

Tasos Katopodis | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

For 2022, the child tax credit is back to $2,000 per child under age 17. Now, Democrats hope to pass an improved version with corporate tax extenders that Congress is about to consider.

Some Democratic leaders such as Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, have pledged to oppose any corporate tax relief unless the child tax credit is also extended.

“These tax cuts have made such a difference in the lives of families,” Brown said this week. “They have to keep going.

“It’s quite simple – no corporate tax cuts without tax cuts for working families.”

However, any agreement for a newly expanded child tax credit may not include terms as generous as they were under the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021, according to Rachel Snyderman, senior associate director at Bipartisan Policy. Center.

While both sides are interested in revamping the Child Tax Credit, there could be a trade-off around phasing in earnings and maintaining an incentive for labor market participation, he said. she declared. Lawmakers could also seek to index credit to short-term inflation.

With only so many legislative days on the calendar, it remains to be seen whether Congress will find time to address the issue before the end of the month. But there’s “definitely” room to fix it next year, Snyderman said.

“The child tax credit is going to remain at the top of the list of priorities for the next Congress,” Snyderman said.

“Even if a short-term agreement is not reached this year, I am convinced that it will remain at the top of the list of priorities at the beginning of next year and throughout the next Congress,” she said. declared.

One of the main reasons for this is that the current credit terms of $2,000 per child were implemented with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and are due to expire in 2025.

Still, advocates are urging Congress not to wait and act on the child tax credit before the end of the year.

On Tuesday, the national parent advocacy organization MomsRising plans to meet with members of Congress at the gates of Capitol Hill with little duck toys and people in duck suits to urge leaders to “make it a super duck session.” and not to “dodge their responsibilities” to families, according to CEO Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner.

They also have digital ads targeted at Congress stating, “More corporate tax cuts? Moms are watching.”

“We’re really keeping the pressure on,” Rowe-Finkbeiner said. “Right now, parents across America are in an ongoing state of emergency with a pandemic that has become rampant and costs mounting.”

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