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The Stimulus Check Americans Want: How the Child Tax Credit Might Be Saved 

U.S. Economy
Image of US Currency. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

A New ‘Stimulus Check’? How the Child Tax Credit Could Come Back from the Dead: This month, American families will not receive a child tax credit payment, which they got each month between July and December of 2021. Those payments were the result of the American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed into law last March by President Joe Biden. However, that law only mandated the child tax credit payments for the year 2021.

Child Tax Credit State of Play: A Stimulus Check Reboot? 

The White House had hoped to extend the payments into the future, at one point even proposing that they continue through 2025, while some in Congress pushed for the tax credit to become permanent. The version of the president’s Build Back Better that passed the House last year included a one-year extension of the credit, but Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced in December that he opposed that version of the bill, and has been specifically skeptical about any legislation that extends the child tax credit without a work requirement.

That seemingly left the legislation, and the credit, in limbo as the calendar turned to 2022. And while Sen. Manchin indicated this week, per Axios, that he was willing to return to talks, the senator also has reportedly stated that he favors either eliminating the tax credit, or “dramatically [lowering] the income caps for eligible families.”

Tax Credit Not Dead? A Stimulus Check Compromise? 

Meanwhile, this week Politico reported on what the Democrats might do to try to keep the 2021 version of the child tax credit alive.

The site suggested that Manchin and the other Democrats could pursue a compromise that still entails a work requirement, but lowers it from what Manchin would prefer. One potential idea would be to require recipients to “prove they’ve worked in the recent past.”

Another potential point of compromise, the story said, is to no longer allow wealthier families to receive the credit. However, doing so would risk violating the president’s pledge to not raise taxes on those with incomes lower than $400,000.

There is, the Politico story noted, still a child tax credit, it just has reverted to how it was prior to the passage of the American Rescue Plan, and no longer entails monthly direct payments.

Even if the credit did survive, lawmakers would likely have to subtract other things from the agenda to get its cost under a certain threshold where Manchin would be willing to vote for it, the story added.

Families Need this Stimulus Check 

CBS News this week talked to some of the families who were counting on the child tax credit money arriving in January but will not receive it. Rising inflation, especially with grocery prices, has made things especially harder for such families. CBS also quoted a recent study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), which found that “about 10 million children are at risk of slipping into poverty” without the payments.

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

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