Manchin Won't Back Biden's Spending Bill: What That Means for Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments

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This latest development is bad news for parents.

Key points

  • West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin insists he's a firm no on the president's $1.75 spending bill.
  • If the bill doesn't move forward, families will lose the monthly Child Tax Credit payments they've become reliant on.

Many Americans have struggled immensely in the course of the pandemic. And while the economy is, thankfully, in better shape now than it was earlier this year, a lot of uncertainty still abounds.

Right now, COVID-19 cases are soaring on a national level, and the emergence of the new omicron variant could result in widespread restrictions that hinder our economic recovery and hurt a lot of people individually. Throw in the fact that inflation has been rampant, and it's easy to see why so many households are stressed out and struggling to make ends meet.

For months, families with children have been getting a lifeline in the form of monthly Child Tax Credit payments. The credit, which was boosted for the 2021 tax year, maxes out right now at $3,600 for children under the age of 6 and $3,000 for those aged 6 to 17.

President Biden is seeking to extend the boosted Child Tax Credit to 2022 as a part of his Build Back Better plan. So far, that spending bill has passed a House vote. But now, it needs Senate approval to move forward. Unfortunately, a lack of one key lawmaker's support could destroy the bill's chances of moving forward.

Senator Manchin is a no

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has stated that he won't vote in favor of the Build Back Better Act. That's problematic, because Manchin is a Democratic senator and his support is needed to move the bill forward in a divided Senate.

To be clear, this news isn't totally out of left field. Manchin has long expressed his concern over the bill, but previously, Democratic lawmakers had been confident in their ability to get the West Virginia senator on board. But based on Manchin's recent statements, it appears as though he's unwilling to budge.

Bad news for cash-strapped Americans

If Biden's spending bill isn't approved -- and soon -- families who have been receiving monthly Child Tax Credit payments won't see one hit their bank accounts in January. And that could force a lot of households to fall behind on their bills and land in serious debt.

So far, those monthly installment payments have helped pull millions of children out of poverty and have allowed many households to shore up their finances. But if those payments don't continue, much of the progress that's been made so far on the poverty front could be reversed.

Meanwhile, not passing the Build Back Better Act could impact the U.S. economy on a whole. In fact, investment banking giant Goldman Sachs has already changed its economic outlook for the worse in the wake of Manchin's clear opposition to the bill. Failing to pass the spending measure could limit economic growth, says Goldman, and result in major setbacks at a time when the U.S. can't afford them.

Obviously, this doesn't automatically mean the Build Back Better plan is dead in the water. But at this point, it's looking likely that at the very least, those who have been receiving Child Tax Credit payments will see that income stream interrupted. And that alone could have severe consequences.

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