As Democrats celebrate parents across the country receiving their first child tax credit checks, Republicans are unsure how to respond.
Several Senate Republicans told HuffPost they did not have strong feelings about the policy, which was an important part of the Democrats’ US bailout.
“I’m going to surprise you – I don’t really have an opinion on this at the moment,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
Last week, tens of millions of U.S. households received payments of up to $ 300 per child, which they will continue to receive each month until the end of the year. Democrats plan to expand the agenda in their next big legislative package, and they bragged about it in a series of press conferences.
At an event Tuesday with moms who had benefited from the policy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Hailed credit as “social security for our children,” linking it to a of the most popular federal government programs of all time. .
Early polls have shown that the advance child tax credit is incredibly popular among Democratic and independent voters, and even garners support from a large contingent of Republican voters.
“All Democrats voted for this tax credit and all Republicans voted no,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) Said.
And the impact is already being felt in households across the country, especially as working-class and working-class families can benefit more fully from credit for the first time.
Daniella Knight, mother of three from Annapolis, Md., Shared her story at the Democratic press conference, saying the money she received last week will be used to pay for the operation including her 4-year-old. needed to dislodge an object from his nose. Knight is a member of MomsRising, a grassroots organization that advocates for better family policies.
“If we didn’t have the child tax credit, we would have had to rethink the camp,” she told HuffPost. “Surgery is very important. We certainly have to pay for it.
While they don’t like discussing it, Republicans have helped make the monthly benefits happen. They increased the value of the credit from $ 1,000 to $ 2,000 per child in their 2017 tax bill, essentially laying the groundwork for Democrats to turn it from an annual reduction in tax payable to a monthly benefit. If it had not been for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the budgetary cost of increasing the credit to $ 3,600 and making it fully available in cash would have been much greater.
Still, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Who successfully fought to extend the tax credit in 2017, totally disavows the Democrats’ new adjustments.
“We enlarged it in 2017. We insisted on it. It was my initiative. I even threatened to vote against the tax bill which did not include it, ”said Rubio. “But what is in place now is basically just a cash benefit, whether you are employed or not. You can call it a tax credit, but it’s not that.
Senatorial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Also accused Democrats of trying to “sever the link between work and income” by making the child tax credit available to people with no income.
But not all Republicans stick to McConnell’s line.
Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) Suggested that the policy should be more focused on the poorest Americans in order to add less to the national debt. Parents who earn up to $ 150,000 per year are currently eligible for the full benefit.
“I think it should be focused on people who need help,” Scott said.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who proposed a similar program earlier this year, suggested Democrats should have made the program permanent immediately instead of saying they would do so later.
“Mine was paid and permanent, which I strongly prefer,” Romney said when asked how he thought the current version of the child tax credit was doing.
In February, Romney proposed the Family Security Act, which would give families up to $ 350 per child each month. Instead of a tax credit, Romney’s plan paid benefits through the Social Security Administration. The proposal would have paid for benefits in part by consolidating and eliminating other safety net programs, such as the entire Temporary Help for Needy Families program.
Under Romney’s plan, benefits would be capped at $ 1,250 per month, and couples with combined incomes over $ 400,000 would get less, which would essentially cover 90% of all families. The senator had no Republican co-sponsors on his plan.
There were times in my life when I felt really selfish about being a teacher because I was always living on the edge. I couldn’t help my 26 year old daughter settle into her adult life. … Maybe I can help my 15 and 16 year olds.
Sarah Taylor, teacher
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees tax policy, noted that Democrats have many other tax proposals that are of more concern to him.
“This is frankly not the one I am targeting as one of the most egregious proposals they have,” he said, referring to the child tax benefit. “It kind of depends on all of the other tax changes. “
Lukewarm Republican opposition is a warning sign that Democrats are succeeding in securing an expanded child tax credit – which serves as an anti-poverty measure in addition to a benefit for middle-class Americans – a more permanent feature of the US tax code. .
This is a policy that is increasingly difficult to oppose, especially as the coronavirus pandemic continues to underline how popular direct payments are.
“There were times in my life when I felt really selfish about being a teacher and staying in teaching because I was always living on the edge,” said Sarah Taylor, teacher at Stafford, in Virginia. “I couldn’t help my 26 year old daughter settle into her adult life. She had to pay for it herself. Between the relief funds and with that, I might be able to help my 15 and 16 year olds. “
Taylor also said she expects the edge to help her class. She lost three times as many students in her high school classes in the past year than she would have lost in a normal year because her students, all English learners, had to prioritize requests at home.
“They had to be at work and helping their families survive financially,” Taylor said. “Some of them were doing it to provide child care to their siblings. This child tax credit will allow some of them to stay in school and concentrate on school.
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