Democrats are pushing hard for Americans to get new stimulus checks, beyond the mix of direct payments and tax credits made possible by the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief legislation that President Biden signed into law last month. And a new plan that Democrats have latched on to might actually have more of a chance of coming to fruition since it doesn’t represent another stimulus check that’s labeled as such, along the lines of the $1,400 payments that started going out a few weeks ago — payments that comprised the third wave of such payments since the coronavirus pandemic began.
No, in this case, Democrats want to extend one particular aspect made possible by Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus legislation: The already-expanded federal child tax credit. This particular benefit gives families as much as $3,600 in new stimulus checks over the course of a year for each eligible child, via monthly checks that will start in July, and those checks are what some Democrats now want to make permanent. How does that sound to those of you who are parents? If you have children, you’d get a check from the government for each one — forever.
First, let’s share a reminder of how the expanded federal child tax credit works now. If you’re part of a married couple earning $150,000 in total or less, or if you’re an individual taxpayer making $75,000 or less, you’ll get $250 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17 from July through December, for a total of $1,500 (6 months x $250). You’ll get $300 for each child under the age of 6. The balance of the $3,600 will come as a tax credit next year.
A group of Democrats in the US House of Representatives, including Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, want this benefit to keep going forever, as a way to give families a recurring, predictable bit of financial help that outlasts the current public health crisis. The Democrats introduced a bill this week to that effect. “We must use this moment to pass the American Family Act and permanently expand and improve the child tax credit by increasing the benefit to families and providing payments monthly,” Representative DeLauro said in a released statement.
“Children and families must be able to count on this benefit long after the end of this pandemic.”
The checks to American families under the temporarily expanded federal tax credit will start going out this summer, with the IRS in the final throes of getting set up to start paying out that benefit. This all comes, by the way, as President Biden is set to make his first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, in which he’ll lay out an initiative called the American Families Plan. At its core is an assortment of benefits for families like national child care, pre-kindergarten, and paid family leave, and Biden will pay for it by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.