Preschool, Family Plan, and the Tax Credit: Breaking Biden’s Plan

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Biden’s proposed child tax credit will expire after 2025. It would provide parents with $ 300 per month for each child under 6 and $ 250 per month for older children.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden couldn’t get everything he wanted from his own $ 1.8 trillion family plan.

Its proposed child tax credit will expire after 2025. It would provide parents with $ 300 per month for each child under age 6 and $ 250 per month for older children. Democratic lawmakers go to great lengths to make credit a permanent policy, but the administration has told them the annual costs of around $ 100 billion are too high.

Biden embraces a radical departure from four decades of politics in which the presidents of both parties focused more on controlling government than expanding it. But resistance to making the child tax credit permanent is a sign that even in a White House that embraces a big government, there are limits.

“This is a very expensive policy, probably more than an additional $ 500 billion to extend it for the rest of the decade,” said Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “According to the principles they set out, they would want to show that they are paying for it, and the current ‘pay-for’ would be insufficient even on a 15-year basis.”

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Yet the tax credit is integral to the administration’s goal of reducing single-digit child poverty and improving the well-being, education, and incomes of America’s next generation. It was first introduced as part of Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus package as a one-year benefit that increased the size of existing credit, opened it up to almost all families and allowed him to be paid monthly.

“With two parents, two kids, that’s up to $ 7,200 in your pocket to help you care for your family,” Biden said in his joint speech to Congress Wednesday night.

The policy goes to the heart of Biden’s belief that people should feel that government policies improve their lives. This philosophy is a fundamental difference from the response to the 2008 financial crisis where the focus was on regulating and supporting big banks as millions of people lost their homes to foreclosure.

For the child tax credit, the challenge is that it is part of an already colossal series of spending that, along with infrastructure, totals $ 4 trillion and would be paid for by tax hikes on businesses and the rich. Biden proposed a permanent change to child tax credits so that parents without the tax burden could qualify. But payments would drop to $ 1,000 per year – or $ 83 per month – by 2026.

This choice by Biden reflects a political calculation over who controls Congress and the White House after the 2024 election. There is a belief that no lawmaker would promote increased child poverty, but there is a risk that Democrats will lose. power or must make profound sacrifices to Republicans in order to preserve the payments.

The credit could also be taken into negotiations, as parts of former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts also expire at the same time. It’s all part of a pattern as other presidents – notably George W. Bush with his tax cuts – have finally seen their expiring policies become water at the negotiating table.

“I’ve been here long enough to know bad things have happened in the middle of the night during budget cliffs,” said Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Who has championed the expansion of the tax credit , during a call with journalists. . “We shouldn’t take this chance with our children.”

Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, asked Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to make the extended payments permanent, only to be told the cost was too high, according to people familiar with the conversation who spoke under the guise of anonymity to discuss the talks. This echoes Tuesday’s remarks by White House press secretary Jen Psaki that she expects the cost to be a discussion with lawmakers in the future.

It’s also possible that it might be cheaper to make the child tax credit permanent now, because renewing it might just mean financing it through debt later or making additional concessions that would increase the cost, Chuck Marr said, Senior Director of Federal Tax Policy. at the Liberal Center for Budgetary and Political Priorities.

Although the initial price is expensive, the potential benefits suggest a high return.

Researchers at Columbia University estimated in February that the $ 100 billion annual expenditure would generate $ 810 billion in current and future profits for the company. Half of the annual costs would be recovered by the government due to increased economic activity.

In the long run, the money would help reduce crime while improving education, health and incomes, said Chris Swanson, director of the IDEALS Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

“It will have tangible benefits for society,” he said, adding that if the increased benefits expire, “it would bring us back to square one.”

The choice is haunted by the knowledge by lawmakers that progress can fade when policies have expiration dates.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Ticked off a list of programs that were never extended, explaining her fears about what could happen to the child tax credit and why she will try in the coming months to make the increased payments permanent.

“We have seen the voting rights expire,” she said. “We have seen the ban on assault weapons expire. We have seen the federal government’s child care efforts expire and we know they have not happened again. “


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