Double Payment to Be Made Available in February to Some Americans!

Democratic-run Washington is particularly concerned about how the gridlock is resulting at an end of the monthly child tax credit payments now that the Senate is stuck in its efforts to pass President Biden’s social-spending bill by year’s end.

On Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration had “talked to Treasury officials and others about doing double-payments in February as an option,” should the Build Back Better Act pass by January. This would make up for the CTC payout missed in January.

A number of Democratic lawmakers have separately expressed interest in securing approval for just a part of the bill — an extension of CTC payments.

Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, said on Wednesday that several of his colleagues have asked whether it is “possible to look at a separate fix just for the child tax credit in order to ensure that those benefits go forward uninterrupted.”

“I have said our office — because we’ve got these skilled tax lawyers and people who’ve had to work on these issues — we are looking at all of the possibilities for how you might do it,” Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said.

“We feel very strongly that this is a benefit that needs to be continued without interruption.”

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Beginning on July 15, payments of up to $300 per child began. Unless Washington grants an extension so the payments continue on Jan. 15, they ended Wednesday (Dec. 15).

There could be a range of reasons why it may be difficult to come up with a “separate fix” for CTC payments before 2021 ends. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not joined the party so far. During a brief press conference on Wednesday, the California Democrat said she preferred to use the Build Back Better Act to address the issue.

“I don’t want to let anybody off the hook on the BBB to say, ‘Well, we covered that one thing, so now the pressure is off.’  I think that that is really important leverage in the discussion on BBB — that the children and their families will suffer without that payment,” Pelosi said to reporters.

White House officials have also criticized the idea, pointing out that 60 votes are required in the 50-50 Senate to overcome the filibuster. In contrast, the Build Back Better Act is expected to move forward through a budget reconciliation process that requires only a simple majority.

“People have been asking us, ‘Would we support it being in a standalone?’” said Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House’s principal deputy press secretary, during a briefing on Thursday.

“The reality is you need 60 votes in the Senate. We do not have 60 votes in the Senate … to do that as a standalone, so we’re going to continue to make sure that we work with the Senate to really get Build Back Better done.”

Even if the monthly payments don’t get extended, eligible families will still receive another boost. A child under age 6 receives $3,600 from the CTC; kids aged 6-17 receive $3,000, up from a $2,000 increase under March’s $1.9 trillion stimulus law. As of now, half of the credit has been paid out via six monthly installments. The remaining half (either $1,800 or $1,500) is set to arrive in the new year during tax season.

Therefore, it would be beneficial if families filed their 2021 tax returns as soon as the Internal Revenue Service began accepting them. In mid-February this year, the IRS started processing 2020 tax returns, after beginning the process in late January of last year.

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Payments were planned to go to individuals making up to $75k, and joint filers making up to $150k; above those earnings levels, the payments were phased out. An estimated 39 million American households with children received payments under the Biden administration.

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