Child Tax Credit: Senator Manchin Wants Fewer Families, Only 'Working Poor' to Get Payments

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As the Democrats deliberate on extending the child tax credit payments for the whole term of the Biden administration, Sen. Joe Manchin has proposed an adjustment in the eligibility requirements that would mean cutting some households from getting the money.

Manchin said the child tax credit should have a work requirement and not go to unemployed parents or high-income families. He believed that those who earn $50,000 are the "working poor" and should be the program's main target.

"Basically 90 million taxpayers file taxes of $50,000 or less," the senator said. "If you're gonna target, target to people that need it the most, the working."

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The Swing Vote

Manchin is the critical swing vote in the Democrats' bid to pass a sweeping and ambitious $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act. He has been vocal in his reluctance to fully support the proposal because of the cost. The 50-seat Democratic Senate majority needs to get everyone on the same page to pass the bill.

However, Manchin said that giving child tax credit payments to unemployed Americans and people with higher incomes of more than $50,000 (single taxpayers) or $100,000 (joint taxpayers) could develop an "entitlement mentality." He worries that many American families would become comfortable with having the resources to affordable child care and descend into laziness to find or keep a job.

While the senator's proposal could help the government save money, it could anger the taxpayers and have many parents opt out of the program because they could risk owing taxes if they exceed the threshold.

However, proponents of the child tax credit payment extension said that the work requirements are not necessary. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a staunch advocate for refundable child tax credit payments for two decades, said that Manchin's proposal is irrelevant to the deliberation.

Sen. Michael Bennet, one of the four authors of the child tax credit bill, said it is a "pro-work policy." Bennet pointed out that countries that provide child allowances have a higher percentage of working people. This is because money accorded to them by the government affords childcare payments, which means parents do not have to miss work or can stay employed as they could pay for childminders.

October Child Tax Credit

Meanwhile, the fourth rollout of the monthly child tax credit payment is due on October 15. Each payment could be up to $300 per child below six years old and $250 for children between six to 17 years old.

Parents who have not received the payment since July could expect their October credit adjustments, depending on their situation. During the rollout, there have been problems, such as incorrect amounts or missing checks, which have been mostly attributed to the parent's outdated IRS tax information.

Many parents have tried to update their child tax credit portal information, but some features are still missing from the online site. The IRS said it is working on the website updates.

The Democrats expanded the child tax credit payments when Biden came to office to help families during the pandemic. As America rebuilds its economy following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Democrats hope that the extension would reduce child poverty in the U.S.

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