Child tax credit payments will be disbursed on Wednesday if the Senate does not pass President Biden’s Build Back Better bill prior to the new year and send it to him for approval.
As part of the expanded monthly child tax credit program, families nationwide are receiving their last checks a few days before Christmas.
The child tax credit will revert to something much smaller than it was before the pandemic if Biden’s $1.75 trillion economic plan is not passed.
“Parents are heading into the new year with no idea whether they’ll be able to put food on the table for their children, keep their babies in clean diapers, or pay rent to keep a roof over their family’s heads,” said Patricia Cole, Zero to Three’s senior director of federal policy.
As part of the American Rescue Plan, enacted in March, the child tax credit was increased from $2,000 to $3,000 for the 2021 tax year as well as a $600 bonus for children under the age of six.
In addition, it established monthly payment plans for kids under the age of 6 and for children aged 6 to 17.
A $300 deposit for children under the age of 6 and a $250 deposit for those aged 6 to 17 were initially introduced in July.
Next year, families will need to file 2021 tax returns to receive the second half of the deposit.
Almost 93 billion dollars have been disbursed to families by the Treasury Department and IRS since the first payments were made in July.
Census Bureau data showed that within weeks of receiving their first payment last July, 55% of middle-income families spent their payments on food, 26% spent them on clothing, and 23% spent them on school and afterschool expenses.
When Congress begins its final session of 2021, the Senate has to decide whether or not it will pass the climate bill and an economic safety net. The 50-50 Senate has less than two weeks to meet its own self-imposed deadline for its Christmas resolution, and much depends on Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., the centrist senator.
Building Back Better Act passed the House last month, but it will need to be changed in the Senate to win the support of all 50 Democratic-voting senators.
During her weekly news conference on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the payments “essential.”
In response to a question about whether the House could pass a separate bill for the extension of the child tax credit payments now, Pelosi responded that the two could not be separated, and “whether we could pass it in the Senate remains to be seen.”
“But I don’t want to let anybody off the hook on BBB to say, ‘Well, we covered that one thing’ so now the pressure is off,” Pelosi explained. “I think that that is really important leverage in a discussion on BBB that the children and their families suffer without that payment.”
The nonprofit ParentTogether Action, which advocates for families, surveyed its more than 2.5 million members before the final payment was made.
According to a survey of respondents, 50 percent of respondents said their family’s finances for basic needs would be worse off if the payments stopped after this month, while 36 percent said they would not be able to meet their family’s basic needs.
ParentTogether co-director Bethany Robertson has called on the Senate to vote today on Build Back Better, saying, “millions of families are on the brink.”
In order to conclude her news conference, Pelosi stated that she was “still optimistic” that Build Back Better would pass, and even if it got passed after the first of the year, she hoped that it could still be retroactive if it was passed prior to the first of the year.