Families with children might be eligible for additional financial support if a Democratic proposal successfully moves through Congress. Aiming to give families an extra economic lift, House Democratic leaders on Monday announced a plan to expand the child tax credit.
Congressional Democrats moved forward with the plan as a part of President Joe Biden‘s COVID-19 relief proposed package. The Washington Post reported that the proposed legislation would provide $3,600 per child under the age of six and $3,000 for children ages six through 17. The payments would be allocated over the course of 12 months beginning in July.
If approved, the assistance would play an outsized role in Black and brown households, which have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and subsequent economic fallout from the pandemic.
The proposed American Family Act has the potential of reducing child poverty. Included as a part of President Biden’s recovery plan announced last month, experts from Columbia University found that expanding the tax credit along with other proposed measures would reduce child poverty by more than 51%.
Like the stimulus payments, the IRS would issue monthly checks based on the child’s age and the filer’s income. This would provide families with immediate relief instead of having to wait to file taxes. Single parents earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000 would be eligible for the full amount. Child tax payments would be available to families for a year.
While some have pointed to potential bipartisan appeal of the proposal, the differences are deeper than a seeming consensus on increasing the child tax credit. Last week, Sen. Mitt Romney proposed a measure that appears similar to the Democrat proposal.
The Romney proposal would provide $4,200 for children under five. But it would eliminate other assistance relied upon by families including the child and dependent care tax credit, the “head of household” tax filing status, and the block grant for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Currently, the child tax credit gives families a credit up to $2,000 per child under age 17. In cases where the credit is more than the amount owed, families have their refund capped at up to $1,400 per child.
Statistics show that the pandemic has hurt Black and brown communities more than others, making the need for financial assistance exponentially pressing for them. Not only are Black people are dying from the coronavirus at nearly three times the amount as white people but Black unemployment remains the highest of any group.
Anoa Changa is a movement journalist and retired attorney based in Atlanta, Georgia. Follow Anoa on Instagram and Twitter @thewaywithanoa.
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