Democrats have changed their approach to social programs, embracing unconditional cash assistance without the kind of “job demands” they loved in Bill Clinton’s day.
Republicans say, “Hey, what happened to the 90s?”
“They want to sever the link between work and income,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Said Thursday. “Democrats are unlearning the lessons of common sense and in favor of the bipartisan welfare reform work of the 1990s.”
But there is a big difference between the federal programs that Republicans called 20th century “welfare” and the Democrats’ new monetary program. Well-being was for poor parents. The new program is for most parents.
The US bailout that Democrats enacted last month will give the majority of parents up to $ 300 per child each month starting July 1, unconditionally. President Joe Biden launched the new child allowance in his speech to Congress this week and said lawmakers should maintain the benefits until 2025.
“With two parents, two children, that’s $ 7,200 in the pockets that will help take care of your family,” Biden said, adding that 65 million parents of children would receive the money and poverty of children would be halved.
The bailout turns the child tax credit into a near-universal monthly benefit by eliminating its income requirement and telling the IRS to distribute the money up front. That’s $ 300 a month for kids under 6, $ 250 for kids under 18, and it will drastically reduce child poverty and could become a big part of Biden’s legacy.
Republican Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Republican House Leader, and Republican Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, called it “welfare without job”.
“Good jobs and rising wages help working families far more than government checks and higher taxes,” Brady said in a statement. statement this week, saying Republicans want to help working families, but not with “more fraud rights programs and warrants in Washington.”
Brady cited a American Enterprise Institute Analysis noting that expanding the child tax credit will lift 3 million children out of poverty but reduce employment by 450,000 jobs, as this money would make work less desirable for some parents. (Brady omitted the part on fewer children living in poverty.)
Some Republicans prefer more direct government support to parents. The senses. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) And Mike Lee (R-Utah) supported expanding the child tax credit. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) even came up with his own version of the child allowance that Democrats included in the US bailout.
But Rubio and Lee can’t just give money to parents without denying it to non-working parents as well.
“It’s not a tax break for working parents; it’s social assistance, ”the two men said in a joint statement in February, as Democrats moved to enact the bailout. “Congress should expand the child tax credit without compromising the responsibility of parents to work to support their families.”
As for the welfare reform of the 1990s, the law encouraged states to kick people out of benefits if they did not have a job. The inscription cratered, plunging more families into cashless poverty. But Clinton won the presidency on a promise to “end welfare as we know it” and Democrats have since avoided supporting programs that give people money – at least until the coronavirus pandemic is occurring and Republicans have twice adopted unconditional direct cash payments, accompanied by Donald Trump’s signature, to the vast majority of households.
Unlike the welfare reform law, which aimed to cut off parents who were not trying to work and who supposedly did not deserve help, the new child tax credit does little to help. efforts to test the merit of its recipients, except that the benefit decreases for families with incomes above $ 150,000.
McConnell is right – Democrats have unlearned the lessons of bipartisan welfare reform.
“Thanks to the US bailout, we are on track to halve child poverty in America this year,” Biden said in his speech Wednesday, to a standing ovation from Democrats in the House chamber. .
Most Republicans stayed in their places and did not applaud.
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