Democrats are pushing Biden at the last minute to put a permanently expanded child tax credit in his latest economic plan

Rosa Delauro
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

  • Democrats are doubling down on efforts for Biden to keep the expanded child tax credit.
  • “Kids don’t grow up in five years,” one House Democrat said.
  • Making CTC changes permanent could stumble in the Senate if Democrats decide to bypass the GOP.
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As President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion emergency stimulus law was about to clear the House in late February, some Democrats started setting the stage for their next battle: Making the beefed-up child tax credit permanent.

Sen. Sherrod Brown told reporters that Democrats would press the Biden administration on the issue as soon as the stimulus law was signed, speaking as part of a group of other Democratic lawmakers.

He later tweeted an image of the group on Twitter. It included Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Booker and Reps. Rosa DeLauro, Suzan DelBene, and Ritchie Torres. DeLauro recently dubbed the group “the CTC Six.”

The stimulus strengthened the child tax credit, increasing it to $3,600 per child under age 6 and $3,000 for kids between 6 and 17. Previously, the amount stood at $2,000, and families with little or no tax obligations could not tap into it.

Those Democrats are now ratcheting up the pressure on Biden as he gears up to unveil a massive new economic plan focused on families on Wednesday, particularly education and childcare. They are already warning against a temporary expansion until 2025, a five-year extension the White House is reportedly eyeing.

“Kids don’t grow up in five years. Parents need predictability to plan for their future over the long term,” DelBene told reporters on a Tuesday press call. “I asked the president in March if he supports permanently expanding the credit, and he said yes.”

The right-leaning Tax Foundation projects it would cost $1.6 trillion over a decade.

“Some have been concerned about the cost. I say the cost of inaction is too great,” DelBene said. “The president will propose his plan. Congress is going to write the bill.”

Democrats may move parts or the entirety of Biden’s $4 trillion infrastructure plan through reconciliation, a maneuver to guard legislation from the 60-vote threshold in the Senate and pave the way for a simple-majority vote. But it must comply with strict budgetary rules, such as barring any deficit increases after a decade.

“The issue really is budgetary score and permanence,” Zach Moller, a budget expert from the center-left group Third Way, told Insider.

Moller said making the child tax credit expansion permanent requires a finding a way to pay for it. “All of these things are competing for offsets. You can increase the deficit inside a 10-year window, outside that 10-year window or whatever budget window you want for the bill, you cannot increase the deficit.”

Meanwhile, other lawmakers said Republicans would fight to prevent an extension, or tie it to another conservative policy priority.

“We know that when this expires in five years … if we don’t do a permanent fix, we know in five years they will come after that and they will want huge corporate tax cuts, which they always do,” Brown told reporters.

Republicans largely oppose the child tax credit expansion, assailing it as a costly liberal priority. But some conservatives, Mitt Romney and Josh Hawley, have put out proposals over the last few months that include monthly cash benefits to families. Hawley’s plan was focused on married couples and it had a steep income requirement to qualify.

Still, many conservatives argue a program for monthly cash payments with no strings attached would foster dependency on the federal government.

“I still think its a bad idea to create a policy where large swaths of the population come to anticipate and look forward to the federal government sending them a check in the mail every month,” Scott Winship, director of poverty studies at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, said in an interview.

Democrats are gearing up to continue making their case to the Biden administration, focused on its benefits to families. Many believe that argument will be easier to make once the IRS begins distributing the checks in July.

“Just because it doesn’t make it in the plan, it doesn’t mean that door is completely closed,” a House Democratic aide told Insider.

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Emergency monthly checks for parents could turn permanent under Senate Democrats’ push

Sherrod Brown
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) talks with reporters on Capitol Hill.

  • Senate Democrats want to make permanent a new stimulus program that would temporarily provide checks to families.
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown said he wants to tie it to a plan for postal banking.
  • Under the House stimulus plan, families could receive a monthly check of $250 or $300 per child starting on July 1.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Senate Democrats said on Thursday they would seek later this year to turn a proposed emergency federal check program for parents into a permanent piece of the American social safety net.

“As soon as we pass the Recovery Act, we will fight to make it permanent and to make sure they can get the checks monthly if they choose,” Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio told reporters on a press call.

Brown was referring to a plan to dramatically revamp the child tax credit, a top Democratic priority in the $1.9 trillion stimulus package. It aims to provide $3,600 over the year to families with young children aged 5 and under, and send $3,000 to those with kids between 6 and 17. 

Under the House proposal, families could either receive a monthly check of $250 or $300 per child starting on July 1. The payments would start phasing out for individuals earning $75,000 and couples making $150,000. Researchers at Columbia University projected that it could cut the child poverty rate in half.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated the provision’s cost at $120 billion. 

Brown, chair of the Senate Banking Committee, added he would unveil a plan allowing the Federal Reserve to establish bank accounts at post offices or credit unions for people who don’t have one at a commercial bank. The step would allow users to deposit their paychecks or receive federal benefits, such as the monthly payments.

“It costs so much to be poor and people get hit with check cashing fees, and preyed on by payday lenders,” Brown said. “We want to build all of that together with some permanence.”

Around 8.4 million households were unbanked in 2017, according to a national survey from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Democrats are rushing to enact President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan by March 14, the deadline for enhanced unemployment insurance programs to start expiring. House Democrats set a Friday vote for the relief legislation, and the Senate is expected to take it up next week.

Republicans are slamming the package as a wishlist of progressive priorities, though polls indicate it has strong support from the public. Some GOP senators assailed the monthly check program as a form of welfare.

“Sending $250/$350 per month/per child to everyone, with no work requirement, is welfare,” Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said in a recent tweet. “Being pro-family means being pro-work. Our expanded Child Tax Credit idea is a far better approach.”

Rubio previously supported a plan to allow families paying payroll taxes instead of income taxes to claim the child tax credit, a move aimed to bolster employment. 

At least one Republican senator supports distributing monthly checks to families. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah released another child-benefit plan that would provide larger cash payments to families, financed by merging several federal initiatives into one and repealing a state and local tax deduction known as SALT.

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A maskless Lindsey Graham yelled at a police officer for not protecting members of Congress during the Capitol attack, Sen. Sherrod Brown said

lindsey graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham.

  • Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said that Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham yelled at a Capitol Police officer during last week’s riot.
  • “Lindsey Graham, with his mask off, started screaming at one of the officers  — I think it was one of the captains — saying: ‘How come you didn’t protect us? It’s your job,'” Brown told MSNBC.
  • Brown used the anecdote to criticize Graham, saying: “This is the same Lindsey Graham that for four years defended and argued for and encouraged and aided and abetted this president and all of his followers.”
  • Despite his previous support for President Donald Trump, Graham has strongly condemned the Capitol rioters, calling them “domestic terrorists” and blaming Trump for inciting them.
  • Graham’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Brown’s remarks.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told off a US Capitol Police officer with his mask off while members of Congress sheltered during last week’s Capitol riot, according to his Democratic colleague Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Brown told MSNBC on Monday that he witnessed the South Carolina senator yelling at a Capitol Police officer after they had been ushered out of the Senate chamber last Wednesday. 

“Lindsey Graham, with his mask off, started screaming at one of the officers  – I think it was one of the captains – saying, ‘How come you didn’t protect us? It’s your job,'” Brown recalled.

Brown used the anecdote to criticize Graham, saying: “This is the same Lindsey Graham that for four years defended and argued for and encouraged and aided and abetted this president and all of his followers.”

Graham’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Brown’s remarks.

Read more: Lawmakers, Hill staffers, and reporters recount the harrowing experience as a violent pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol to protest the electoral-vote count

While Graham has been a staunch defender of President Donald Trump and his supporters over the last four years, he condemned them over last week’s Capitol breach. 

Last week Graham said he was “embarrassed and disgusted” by teh breach, and called the perpetrators “domestic terrorists.” He also said that Trump should be to blame for the riot, saying: “When it comes to accountability, the president needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution.”

In a tweet last Friday, Graham also said that the rioters should be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” 

However, he is not supportive of the Democratic effort to impeach the president for inciting a mob. 

A video posted on Twitter on Friday showed Graham being harassed by a group of Trump supporters at Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, with people shouting “Traitor!” and “You’re a liar!”

Brown and Graham have unsurprisingly differed on political issues in the past, including recently on the issue of police reform. But they have found common ground in the past, having signed on to bipartisan bills on climate, economic, and international issues.  

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