Manchin Declares Build Back Better Bill Dead, Dashing Hopes for Boosted Child Tax Credit

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  • Senator Joe Manchin has made it clear he won't support Biden's massive spending bill.
  • If the bill fails, the boosted Child Tax Credit could be off the table for 2022.

Biden's spending bill might just fizzle out after all.

For many weeks now, President Biden's Build Back Better bill has been stalled in the Senate. To move the bill forward, Biden was hoping to enlist the support of Democratic lawmakers. But one member of that party -- West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin -- has voiced his opposition to the bill from the start. And on Feb. 1, he made a pretty grim proclamation about the bill's future.

Is Build Back Better a goner?

Senator Manchin finally came out and said the Build Back Better bill is dead. And while his opposition to the bill isn't shocking, that declaration is a harsh dose of reality for Biden, who had been banking on negotiating his way to a solution.

But the news isn't just bad for Biden. It's also a major blow to the millions of Americans who were counting on seeing boosted Child Tax Credit payments hit their bank accounts this year.

Last year, the boosted Child Tax Credit helped pull millions of children out of poverty and allowed many households to shore up their finances following the blow of the pandemic. It also made it possible for many families to keep up with their essential living costs during a rampant wave of inflation.

By killing Build Back Better, Manchin could effectively end up taking the boosted Child Tax Credit off the table for 2022. Under the enhanced version, the credit maxed out at $3,600 for children under age 6 and $3,000 for those aged 6 to 17. Without that boost in place, the credit will max out at $2,000 across the board.

Families just aren’t losing money if the boosted Child Tax Credit goes away for 2022. They'll also have to wait a long time to get it.

Typically, tax credits are claimed on tax returns and paid in a lump sum when a refund is due. Last year, half of the boosted Child Tax Credit was paid in monthly installments that began in July and wrapped up in December. The hope, initially, was that those monthly payments would continue throughout 2022, thereby giving recipients access to a steady stream of income. But if the credit reverts to its former state, those monthly payments will be off the table.

Could lawmakers save the boosted Child Tax Credit?

Senator Manchin has made it clear there's no point in negotiating further on the Build Back Better bill in its current state. But that doesn't mean Biden and his administration can't break the spending bill into smaller parts and attempt to push each one through individually. Some aspects of Build Back Better may indeed come to fruition.

Unfortunately, though, one of Manchin's main sticking points has always been the boosted Child Tax Credit. If lawmakers attempt to write specific legislation for the credit itself, they may have a hard time getting it passed.

While Manchin may be swayed to extend the boosted credit under the right criteria (he wants to implement a work requirement for families to be eligible), the senator claims he has other pressing issues he wants to address first. Those include inflation, the pandemic, and the country's debt. But while those are clearly important topics, the reality is the boosted Child Tax Credit has been a lifeline for families, and if lawmakers fail to make it a priority, a lot of people could suffer financially this year.

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