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What’s the Word On: Support the Expansion of the Child Tax Credit

By Syed Hassan

The House of Representatives passed the $79 billion Tax Relief and American Families and Workers Act. Included in this package is an expanded version of a Child Tax Credit, a program that Islamic Relief USA has long advocated and supported. We hope the Senate approves this expanded version as well, which, at this point is no sure thing.

The $30-billion-plus child tax credit program, according to the legislation, will enable families to claim up to $2,000 per child. It opens the door to families who previously may not have been eligible because of having multiple children, among other factors. The New York Times reports that the legislation would also automatically adjust the credit for inflation and allow parents to use their previous years earnings if it means they could receive a larger credit.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimated that the proposed changes to the child tax credit, which reverted back to its previous form after the enhanced version passed during the height of the pandemic failed to get renewal at the end of 2022, would result in an average tax cut of $680 in the first year.

Some lawmakers expressed contentment with the expanded child tax credit even if it is a good deal less generous than the one that expired more than a year ago.

The pandemic era version of the child tax credit deposited up to $3,600 per child in the family’s bank accounts.

The attitude among some lawmakers is that something is better than nothing, and that bipartisanship still works.

“You know I’ve been told that a half a loaf is better than none,” said Rep. Danny Davis (D Illinois). “This isn’t even half a loaf, but I’m going to vote for it because our families in businesses need help.”

Rep. Jason Smith (R-Missouri) said among other things, “the child tax credit provisions in this bill will help families crushed by inflation remove the penalty for families with multiple children and maintains work requirements .”

Other lawmakers looked at it as an example of bloated government. Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) said ” I am not going to support something that expands the child tax credit which is expanding the welfare state massively.”

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, Rep. Rose DeLauro (D- Connecticut) said the expansion wouldn’t go far enough. “The tax deal fails on equity. At a time when a majority of American voters believe tax on big corporations should be increased, there is no reason we should be providing corporations a tax cut while only giving families pennies.”

The fact is the Child Tax Credit, especially the versions of recent years, have proven to be very effective. That pandemic-era program helped pull millions of children out of poverty, a study published last year said and which IRUSA mentioned in a prior post. This particular version can

help a half-million children climb out of destitution, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Thus, we support passage of an expansion of the Child Tax Credit and encourage our advocates to do the same.

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