Lauren Moye, FISM News
The 15th day of each month has been important to many American families since July, when the first advance payment of the child tax credit payment was made with the planned final payment occurring in December. Today marks the first month that 30 million households will not receive a boost to their income.
The extended child tax credit was approved for the 2021 tax season as part of a massive COVID-19 relief bill passed early last year. In addition to making the standard child tax credit fully refundable, this legislation also increased the credit to $3000 for children ages 6 to 17 and $3600 for children under 6.
FISM previously reported that half of a family’s eligible amount could be received through six advanced payments made monthly from July 2021 through December 2021 with one final payment “up to $1,800.00 per child five or younger and $1,500.00 per child from six to seventeen” made in April 2022.
The monthly payments were accepted by roughly 36 million families and covered roughly 60 million children, according to the IRS. Families who accepted the advanced payments must file a 2021 tax return to compare received payments to actual 2021 income to verify that the amounts received reflect what a family was actually eligible to receive.
Democrats had hoped to further extend the child tax credit throughout the New Year as part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better pet project. However, those hopes have been effectively dashed by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who has refused to compromise his convictions to toe the party line. In an evenly divided Senate, Democrats needed every party member to pass Build Back Better.
Manchin said back in December during a Fox News interview, “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.”
More recently, Manchin told reporters he was no longer negotiating with the White House on the Bill. While it might be easy to smear Manchin with accusations of not caring for lower and middle-income families, it is important to remember that Manchin’s convictions stem from concern over rising inflation and the long-term impact that might have on all American families.
This adds a new dimension when considering headlines like the recent Washington Post’s “Fewer groceries, more debt: Families brace for first month without child tax payments.”
While the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that an estimated 10 million children will potentially fall below the poverty line without these monthly credits – and this is a concern that should never be taken lightly – one of the biggest threats to Americans remains rising grocery prices.
CNN reported on Dec. 17 that inflation has drastically changed normal shopping patterns for families with a 6.4% overall increase in prices from Nov. 2020 through Nov. 2021. This has resulted in families switching to cheaper brands, cheaper stores, and walking away from American dinner table staples like bacon and ground beef.
This means that, true to the debate surrounding the credits when they were first approved, the tax credits could be contributing to the very need they are attempting to fill. For this reason, Manchin refuses to vote for any new child tax credit law that cannot be fully and permanently funded.