GOP Blocks Funding to Cut Child Poverty After Approving $858 Billion for Defense

Congressional Republicans fortunately teamed up with Democrats this month to authorize $858 billion in army spending for the subsequent fiscal yr, however the GOP is refusing to even think about proposals to revive the Baby Tax Credit score growth that lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty final yr — though bringing this system again would price a fraction of the Pentagon outlay.

A spokesperson for Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told HuffPost earlier this week that Republicans have up to now been unwilling to barter over the Baby Tax Credit score (CTC) increase, which they unanimously opposed when it was enacted as a part of the American Rescue Plan final yr.

“Republicans have refused to interact in any respect on the Baby Tax Credit score,” mentioned Ashley Schapitl. “In actual fact they made clear they’d not negotiate on any deal that features the kid tax credit score.”

Main Republicans readily confirmed their refusal to contemplate the CTC increase as a part of an end-of-year tax package deal. With the 60-vote Senate filibuster intact, Democrats want the assist of a minimum of 10 Republicans to revive the expanded CTC in some kind.

“As of proper now there’s no assist for that on the Republican facet,” Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the highest Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, informed HuffPost.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), one of many 176 House Republicans who voted in favor of the $858 billion Nationwide Protection Authorization Act final week, declared that “the nation frankly doesn’t have the time or the cash for the partisan, costly provisions similar to [the] Baby Tax Credit score.”

The 2021 program, which expanded the prevailing CTC to incorporate the poorest households and despatched out funds of as much as $3,600 per little one in month-to-month increments, spurred a historic drop within the obscenely high U.S. little one poverty price earlier than it expired on the finish of final yr, due to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and the GOP’s opposition to extending the profit.

The boosted CTC’s expiration has pushed hundreds of thousands of youngsters again into poverty and prompted a major jump in hunger, heightening the sense of urgency amongst campaigners and plenty of Democratic lawmakers searching for to reinstate this system.

“The expanded Baby Tax Credit score diminished little one poverty by greater than 40%. It lower little one starvation by a 3rd,” mentioned the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “Working-class households want this aid now, and Congress has an opportunity to deliver it again earlier than the top of this yr. Progressives will preserve preventing to get this executed.”

In an try and jumpstart negotiations, Democrats have mentioned they’d be keen to entertain a slate of corporate tax cuts that the GOP needs to enact earlier than the top of the yr.

However even the prospect of delivering one other main windfall to massive corporations hasn’t proved sufficiently attractive for Republicans to droop their longstanding opposition to authorities anti-poverty applications.

Congressional Democrats and the Biden White Home have additionally prompt they’d settle for a extra restricted model of the 2021 CTC increase, probably together with more strict work requirements and different eligibility limits — which progressives oppose. Such concessions have apparently did not sway Republicans.

Following the lapse of the expanded program in December 2021, the CTC reverted again to its earlier kind, which incorporates smaller funds and a regressive phase-in that forestalls the poorest households from acquiring the profit.

The Middle on Price range and Coverage Priorities (CBPP) estimates that eliminating the phase-in and permitting the low-income households which are ineligible underneath present legislation to obtain the total CTC profit would price roughly $12 billion a yr.

By comparability, the Home and Senate voted this month to extend U.S. army spending by $90 billion {dollars} over Fiscal Year 2022 levels.

“This isn’t utilizing our taxpayer {dollars} properly. It’s robbing applications that we want, just like the discontinued Baby Tax Credit score growth that lower little one poverty by half,” Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the Nationwide Priorities Venture on the Institute for Coverage Research, wrote in a latest weblog publish. “The one winners listed below are the army contractors who commandeer roughly half of the Pentagon’s price range in any given yr.”

Congress has till subsequent week to approve a funding package deal to avert a authorities shutdown, that means time is operating out for a last-ditch CTC push.

The stakes are huge. As CBPP noted earlier this month, “With out an growth of the Baby Tax Credit score (and with the expiration of varied different aid measures), little one poverty is more likely to return to about the identical stage because it was pre-pandemic — pushing hundreds of thousands of youngsters again into poverty.

“Policymakers can increase the Baby Tax Credit score, or they will fail to behave and see the Rescue Plan’s historic features in opposition to little one poverty evaporate,” the suppose tank warned.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) mentioned Tuesday that he’s “preventing to get the expanded Baby Tax Credit score handed earlier than the top of the yr.”

“It diminished little one poverty and helped households make ends meet,” the senator added. “We should get it executed.”

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