Child Tax Credit’s Extra Help Ends, Just as Covid Surges Anew

That didn’t happen. The public was found to be more likely to vote in polls. roughly dividedOppositions were split along partisan lines and between generations about whether the program should be extended. And the expanded tax credit failed to win over the individual whose opinion mattered most: Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, who cited concerns over the cost and structure of the program in his decision to oppose Mr. Biden’s climate, tax and social policy bill. The bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, cannot proceed in the evenly divided Senate without Mr. Manchin’s support.

The failure to extend the child benefit is particularly disappointing for supporters. Most analyses show that the program has been a huge success. Columbia University researchers estimate that the payments amount to approximately $1.3 billion. 3.8 million children kept out of povertyA nearly 30% reduction in child poverty was recorded in November. Other studies have also shown the benefit. reduced hunger, Financial stress lessAmong recipients and increased overall consumer spend, especially in rural areas that received the most money per head.

The child tax credit was expanded by Congress last spring in three ways. The first was to increase the child tax credit’s generosity, increasing it from $2,000. To $3,600 per child, it increased the amount. Second, it began paying the credit in monthly installments, usually deposited directly into recipients’ bank accounts, turning the once-yearly windfall into something closer to the children’s allowances common in Europe.

The bill finally made the credit available to millions of people who were previously unable to claim it because they had not earned enough to qualify. Experts in poverty say that tax jargon refers to the change as “full refundability,”It was especially important because without it, A third of children have asthma. — including half of all Black and Hispanic children, and 70 percent of children being raised by single mothers — did not receive the full credit. Mr. Biden’s plan would have made that provision permanent.

“What we’ve seen with the child tax credit is a policy success story that was unfolding, but it’s a success story that we risk stopping in its tracks just as it was getting started,” said Megan Curran, director of policy at Columbia’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy. “The weight of the evidence is clear here in terms of what the policy is doing. It’s reducing child poverty and food insufficiency.”

But the expanded tax credit doesn’t just go to the poor. Couples earning as much as $150,000 a year could receive the full $3,600 benefit — $3,000 for children 6 and older — and even wealthier families qualify for the original $2,000 credit. Critics of this policy, including Mr. Manchin argued that it doesn’t make sense to give aid to wealthy families. Many supporters of the credit say they’d happily limit its availability to wealthier households in return for maintaining it for poorer ones.

Mr. Manchin has also publicly questioned unconditional cash payments’ wisdom, and privately voiced concern that recipients might use the money to buy opioids. These comments were first reported in the New York Times. The Wall Street JournalA person who is familiar with the topic confirmed it. A Census Bureau survey found that most recipients used the money to purchase food, clothing, or other necessities. Many also saved some money or paid off debt. Similar results were found in other surveys.

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