Democrats are pushing to reinstate the pandemic-era expanded child tax credit during the lame-duck session by including it as part of an expected government funding package.
On Wednesday, Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Ct., Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., and Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., announced plans to counter Republican demands for corporate research and development (R&D) tax credits by insisting that the expanded child tax credit also be included.
Responding to the new tactic, a spokesperson for the progressive organization Our Revolution told TYT Wednesday night that it's worth another corporate tax break to lift children out of poverty.
Booker told TYT that the question comes down to "when they come and start demanding those kinds of tax credits or R&D tax credits for the corporations, can we use that as a moment [...] to get this done for American families, 90% of American families. That's the way we see this coming. And it's coming to a head, we think, in the spending bill."
The expanded child tax credit was part of Pres. Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, which cushioned COVID's economic woes, providing qualifying families tax credits worth up to $300 per child per month.
The expansion, which expired in December 2021, helped to cut child poverty by almost half, according to the Census Bureau. Expanding the child tax credit, or CTC, permanently was part of Biden's massive Build Back Better package, which failed to pass due to opposition from Republicans and Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Booker told reporters that expanding the CTC is what's best for American society. "When you raise a child above the poverty line, you unlock their genius in a profound way," said Booker.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), reducing child poverty means "better lifetime health, improved educational attainment, and higher earnings and better economic circumstances as adults."
In order to pass the expanded CTC before the new Congress is sworn in, Brown said, "We need an omnibus [spending bill] to do this, we'd expect," instead of a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded at its current levels.
During the news conference, Brown blamed Republicans for leaving parents and kids behind while wealthy corporations lobbied for the massive tax cuts that Pres. Donald Trump delivered them in 2017. Brown said, "it's pretty simple. Again, no corporate tax cuts without the child tax credit. The deal is on the table. It's on the table for Republicans to take."
Paco Fabian, communications and campaign director for Our Revolution, told TYT that if corporations are going to get more tax breaks, the least lawmakers can do is look out for poor, working and middle class families.
"Is this an ideal bargain?" Fabian asked. "No. We shouldn't have to give up more corporate goodies to reinstate the CTC, which never should've been allowed to expire to begin with."
But Fabian says the trade is worth it and would be life-changing for children and parents across the country if lawmakers can pull it off. The expanded CTC is wildly popular, and Fabian said, "Politics is about leverage, and as our movement grows we'll have more power to force Washington to broker better deals for the American people."