Congress closer to expanding child tax credit

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) – Congress is one step closer to passing a major bipartisan tax deal just in time for tax season.

On Friday, by a 40-3 vote, the House Ways and Means Committee approved a new $78-billion bipartisan tax package. If signed into law, the bill could help working families by expanding a child tax credit while giving tax breaks to businesses as well.

“We can show our constituents who are struggling with inflation and high interest rates, that when Congress works together, we can still achieve big things,” said Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.).

The bill is a result of months of negotiations between Smith and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). First, the plan boosts a tax credit families can get from a maximum of $1600 per child to $2000 by the end of the three-year deal.

“This is help when they’re walking an economic tightrope. These families are balancing the food bill against the fuel bill. And the fuel bill against the rent bill. They’re paying for essentials,” said Wyden.

Second, the bill calls for an increase of federal money states will get to give to developers building low-income housing. Lastly, it restores substantial corporate tax breaks that either ended or were about to expire from the Trump Administration.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), one of three members who voted against the bill, said he cannot stomach the tax cuts.

“This is not a 50/50 split between children and corporate power. Once again, this committee makes its priority clear, and it’s certainly not children,” Doggett said.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden is encouraged and supportive of deal because it will lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty.

“Obviously, the president passed the American Rescue Plan, as you know very early on. It had the Child Tax Credit,” said Jean-Pierre. “It is a welcomed step forward and we believe Congress should pass it.”

More Democrats are pushing back on the legislation, saying it is friendlier to businesses rather than families. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has not confirmed when he might bring the bill to the floor.