Parent’s Nightmare: Time to Say So Long to This Stimulus Check? For about thirty-five million American families, the popular enhanced child tax credit—considered by many to be an unofficial version of the fourth stimulus check—has been seen as a cutting-edge social program that helped financially struggling parents make ends meet amid the nearly two-year-long coronavirus pandemic and unrelenting high-inflationary environment.
From this past July to December, the federal government provided eligible parents as much as $3,600 for a child under the age of six and up to $3,000 for children between ages six and seventeen. This all means that a $250 or a $300 payment for each child was direct deposited to parents each month.
However, just as these parents were getting settled in with the newest stimulus payments from the government, these enhanced credits came to a screeching halt with the start of the new year. Against this concerning backdrop, President Joe Biden and Democrats are continuing their work to pass some form of the highly contentious Build Back Better bill—which would tack on another year of the monthly payments. But the conservative-leaning Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has essentially torpedoed the legislation by saying that he will not support an extension of the enhanced credit if there is no work requirement for parents.
Back to Reality on Stimulus Checks and Tax Credits
It is certainly possible that Congress could eventually approve Build Back Better or a standalone bill that would retroactively enhance the child tax credit for all of 2022. But to pass any bill, “there’s just the reality that you need to get to fifty votes,” Jorge Castro, a partner at the Washington D.C.-based Miller & Chevalier law firm and a former Democratic staffer on the Ways & Means Committee, told CNBC.
He added that the current trajectory of the ongoing pandemic could steer Congress to rethink its priorities.
“If you significantly dial back child tax credit relief, is this the right time?” he says. “That’s a question that has to be asked.”
Children to Suffer
Without the Build Back Better bill, it is likely that the nation’s lowest-income earners would suffer the most—as the maximum child tax credit would sink by $1,000 per school-aged child and $1,600 per child under six and millions of families who don’t meet the income thresholds would become ineligible for the monthly funds.
According to a survey conducted by ParentsTogether Action, it showed that due to the ending of the enhanced credits, 50 percent of respondents said that it will be more difficult for them to meet their family’s basic needs and 36 percent admitted that they will no longer be able to meet their family’s basic needs.
A separate analysis released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has warned that nearly ten million children could potentially fall back into poverty without an extension of the enhanced credits.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.