President Biden and Democrats in Congress are still deep in negotiations over the White House’s mega-ambitious Build Back Better domestic agenda, paring back the price tag of that agenda’s huge social spending bill by jettisoning features opposed by a couple of holdout Senate Democrats. One victim of the backdoor dealmaking? The popular child tax credit extension, which since July has meant a regular monthly stimulus check for parents of eligible children around the country.
President Biden had wanted to extend that extension, for another three years — which would presumably have meant 36 more monthly child tax credit checks. However, largely as a result of opposition by West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, the White House has agreed to curtail an extension of the child tax credit from three years to only one more year (for now)
This is not yet final, of course. But the change is an attempt to accomplish two very important goals.
One of them is to keep Manchin on-side. Democrats, remember, have the slimmest of majorities in the Senate — and it’s actually only a majority via a technicality. The party split in the Senate is 50-50, with Democrats only enjoying a majority if they all hang together and Vice President Kamala Harris breaks a tie.
The other important goal of paring back the child tax credit extension is to keep the overall size of the spending bill at the heart of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda much lower than it was originally. From a new Politico report this week: “Now the White House is proposing a one-year extension to reduce the initial $450 billion price tag. Even though Manchin wants to impose work requirements and ensure the extra credit goes only to families making $60,000 or less, Biden publicly rejected that idea last week.”