Stimulus Update: Democrats Aim to Make $300 Monthly Payments Permanent for Parents

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Could parents continue to get $300 monthly checks for the foreseeable future?

When President Joe Biden took office, he had ambitious plans to provide coronavirus relief for millions of struggling Americans. This led to the Biden Administration successfully passing the American Rescue Plan Act.

The American Rescue Plan Act included $1,400 stimulus checks for eligible Americans, including adult dependents. In addition to the checks that hit the bank accounts of Americans, the American Rescue Plan also offered a form of support to parents that could be worth even more.

That support comes in the form of an expanded child tax credit. While the child tax credit previously offered $2,000 in tax credits for children under 17, the American Rescue Plan Act provides $3,600 in credits for children under six and $3,000 in credits for older kids.

The plan is for the credits to be distributed in the form of monthly payments, valued at either $250 or $300 per child depending on age. Single parents with an income below $75,000 and married couples earning below $150,000 are eligible for the full monthly amount, which is expected to begin arriving this summer.

Right now, the expanded credit applies only to 2021. But that could change thanks to some Democrats who have introduced a bill to try and make these monthly payments permanent.

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Will parents continue receiving monthly payments indefinitely?

Although the $300 or $250 monthly payments are currently set to expire next year, that won't happen if some Democrats get their way.

A number of House Democrats -- including Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Suzan DelBene of Washington, and Ritchie Torres of New York -- unveiled a recent proposal that would make the expanded child tax credit permanent. That way, families can count on the money continuing to provide help and support over the long-term.

"We must use this moment to pass the American Family Act and permanently expand and improve the child tax credit by increasing the benefit to families and providing payments monthly," Representative DeLauro said in a released statement. "Children and families must be able to count on this benefit long after the end of this pandemic."

This legislation to extend the credit has broad support on the left. However, there are significant challenges associated with making the $300 monthly payments permanent. To do that, a bill would need to pass in both the U.S. House and Senate, and 60 votes in the Senate would be necessary to advance the bill. That's because Republicans could otherwise use a legislative procedure called a filibuster to stop it.

The proposal to expand this tax credit is unlikely to get the 60 votes necessary to advance, as the recent coronavirus stimulus bill was unable to hit this threshold. The stimulus bill passed through an alternative procedure called "reconciliation," which attaches legislation to budget bills that can't be filibustered. This method can only be used a limited number of times and most likely will be necessary to pass the President's planned infrastructure legislation.

However, there is a possibility that an extension of the $300 monthly payments could become part of the President's infrastructure plan, as there has reportedly been talk among administration officials about using infrastructure legislation to expand the credit through 2025.

Of course, providing large monthly payments for years to come would be costly. This might necessitate tax increases, which could be politically unpopular. And it's not clear if even the infrastructure bill can pass through reconciliation, since all of the 50 senators who caucus with the Democrats would need to sign on in order for that to happen. Some conservative Democratic senators, however, have indicated they'd prefer a scaled-down bipartisan bill. So there are no guarantees they'd vote in favor.

Therefore, parents can expect and count on payments to start coming soon for 2021. But it's probably not a good idea to start anticipating that $300 payment to last for years to come.

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