According to the Republican senator, several Democrats expressed interest in his proposal. He also spoke with him about it. It includes key differences from previous tax credits.
WASHINGTON — Senator Mitt Romney (Republican from Utah) has quietly advocated for a Republican-friendly expanded child credit. He hopes that this version will gain bipartisan support.
His proposal would restore the direct monthly payments that parents used for six-months last year to pay the cost of child care, food, clothing, and other expenses before Congress let out the tax credit.
Romney’s proposal for monthly payments in addition to work would be more stringent, increase requirements for workers, cut programs that help vulnerable Americans, and change the tax code.
Although the increased work requirements and reduced safety net programs may be difficult for Democrats to swallow, they might still be able to support a bipartisan bill to get the expanded child credit on President Joe Biden’s desk.
Romney has worked mainly with fellow Republicans to develop his plan. However, conversations with Democrats have increased over the past month, according to a senior GOP aide.
The aide stated that momentum is increasing and people on the right are more interested in doing something. “I think people on the left are beginning to realize that if they don’t do it bipartisanly, it won’t happen.”
It is not clear which Democrats would be open to Romney’s pitch. He stated Thursday that “there are several Democrats who expressed interest in me and have spoken to me.” He declined to identify any.
Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who was involved in Democratic efforts to extend the expanded child tax credit has indicated that he is open to supporting the policy as a separate bill and working with Republicans to get it passed. He has so far expressed opposition to the reduction of social programs and strongly opposed adding work requirements.
He said, “As I have said in the past work requirements don’t work, study after study has proven.” “We shouldn’t punish children just because their families struggle to find work, especially during a pandemic,” he said.
However, the Democratic side has not made significant progress in the tax credit debate. Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia, a key vote for Democrats, is still opposed to the reactivation of the old policy.
Manchin is concerned that benefits might be available to people who don’t work. Democrats say they cannot satisfy this concern. Manchin told reporters that any child tax credit expansion should have a work requirement. He also suggested a minimum income of $75,000 in an interview with West Virginia MetroNews ” Talkline“, Jan. 27.
A spokesperson for Manchin stated Wednesday that he supports the current child tax credit, which does not provide monthly payments to parents.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act was passed about a year ago. It increased the child tax credit from $2,000 per child to $3,600 for children under 6 years old and $3,000 per child below 17. It was previously only available for tax returns filed. However, the 2021 provision enabled recipients to receive half the credit in monthly payments starting July through December.
Recent research showed how efficient the payments were in lifting children out poverty, and how fast the rate went back up after the program ended.
According to , a Columbia University study, the child poverty rate rose from 12 percent to 17 percent in December to 3.7 million children found themselves back in poverty after monthly payments ended.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) indicated that he was open to listening about the proposal by Romney, but that he doesn’t want a policy that requires work requirements.
He said, “I am very cautious about job requirements.” “I’ll have the opportunity to examine their proposals.”
Blumenthal stated that there are administrative problems with work requirements and raised concerns about the possible effects on low-income households.
Blumenthal stated, “Practically and frankly, I would like to see it work.”
Romney’s proposal, although it hasn’t yet been introduced into legislation, comes from his Family Security Act. This bill would pay benefits in monthly check of up to $350 per kid and make it fully accessible for individuals earning up to $200,000 annually or married couples filing taxes together making up to $400,000.
Romney stated that he would add work requirements to his original child tax credit proposal. This was a nod towards Manchin’s position. Romney’s proposal does not address all possible work requirements. A common threshold for state-level programs would be 80 hours per month, or similar amount of job training and volunteer work.
A spokesman for the aide stated that the legislation is still under negotiation and has not been finalized.
“I have spoken with enough Democrats including Joe Manchin to insist that this is essential. “And, by the way,” Romney stated this month at an event hosted by the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute.
Romney suggested that a work-related provision could include proof of employment from one parent. However, he expressed concern about punishing parents who stay at home to raise their children.
Romney claimed that Romney’s proposal was appealing to both Republicans and Democrats, as it would help pay for the cost of the child tax credit.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that a permanent expansion of the child tax credit will cost nearly $1.6 trillion over the next ten years.
Romney’s proposal would bring about broad changes in the tax code. It would eliminate the Head of Household Filing status and the Child and Dependent Care credit. These credits are used to offset the cost for child care for working parents. It would also eliminate the state- and local tax deduction. This is already a controversial issue for Democrats.
His proposal would also eliminate Temporary Aid for Needy Families (commonly referred to as welfare) and major cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (which many people know as food stamps).
House Democrats and advocates are already sceptical of Romney’s plan.
Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the chair of the Appropriations Committee said that she opposed any work requirement and believes that the current child tax credit is adequate.
She said that while it may be fine for two-income households, single parents living in expensive cities might find it difficult to work and provide child care.
DeLauro stated that Romney would make parents go to work, even though it might be easier for them to stay at home.
NBC News spoke with most advocates that expressed little interest in Romney’s plan.
The Rev. Brigette Weier is the pastor at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Salt Lake City. She said that cutting social programs and increasing work requirements would not improve on the positive effects of the expanded program on children.
It’s a loss if we eliminate social programs like SNAP and tax deductions that support families. It’s a deficit at best for many families,” stated Weier, who was a child care worker for decades before becoming a pastor.
However, some advocates said Romney should be credited for keeping legislators focused on the issue even though they may not agree with him.
Dorian Warren, president of Community Change, an advocacy organization that supports the expanded child tax credit for children, gave Romney praises for his proposal, but said that his approach to cutting social programs, adding work requirements, and cutting other programs was wrong and a nonstarter.
“It’s great that Senator Romney is looking into this. Warren stated that more Republicans are needed and that there is more bipartisan support for child tax credit. He noted that the child credit has been expanded bipartisanly in the past without cutting other programs or adding work requirements.
However, until an agreement is reached, the recipients of the monthly credit payments will be able to remember the financial relief they received.
Sara Klowonn is a mother to four children and has adopted four children from foster care. She said that the payments allowed her family to purchase extra jeans for their children or replace worn out sneakers.
She stated that the extra money allowed her to spend more time with her children, and not work extra shifts at the nursing facility where she has a parttime job.
Klowonn stated that while many people won’t admit they struggle to make ends meets, this was a true gift. “It was possible to sit down with your children and not fall asleep while you watched ‘Encanto.
CORRECTION (Feb. 22, 20,22, 4:15 p.m. ET: An earlier version of this article misidentified the name of the legislation that would renew the child tax credit. It is the Family Security Act and not the Family Secure Act.