The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package that would fund the federal government into next fall. The House of Representatives on Friday passed the bill, sending the legislation to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.
The package contains roughly $40 billion in emergency aid for communities recovering from disasters, financial assistance to Ukraine and provisions designed to make retirement easier.
However, the bill is missing one key element many had hoped would be included: a child tax credit (CTC) expansion.
Democrats pushed for the COVID-era CTC expansion, which would give eligible recipients $3,000 per child over the age of 6 and $3,600 per child under the age of 6. Republicans led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted the credit omitted, though, and they ultimately succeeded.
The original expanded CTC was touted as a major success for the Biden administration before it expired in December 2021 due to opposition from Senate Republicans and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Democratic lawmakers wanted to partially restore the enhanced child tax credit so that more of the lowest-income families in the U.S. could qualify, similar to how last year’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan’s temporary expansion of the credit worked.
According to a recent estimate from the Tax Policy Center, about 19 million children won’t receive the current full benefit of $2,000 this year because their parents earn too little.
The Biden administration has not commented directly about the negotiations that took place in Congress over the CTC in the spending package, but a White House spokesperson told Politico earlier this month that the president wanted the tax credit.
“President Biden strongly supports the child tax credit expansion he signed into law,” a White House spokesperson told the outlet while referring to the 2021 expanded CTC program.
Though a bulk of the omnibus package goes toward defense spending, a large amount of money is allocated to families. The legislation would establish a permanent nationwide summer EBT program, provide billions for child care and give more funding to increase access to mental health services for children and schools.
Still, some Democratic lawmakers and advocates have expressed their frustration about the exclusion of the expanded CTC from the omnibus bill.
“Republican leaders decided to send a lump of coal to America’s children this year,” Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado said in a statement. “We know that the most significant step Congress can take to help America’s children is to support an expanded Child Tax Credit. When Congress took action on this in 2021, we cut childhood poverty in America in half. We have the data. We know it worked.”
Frank Clemente, the executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, shared the same sentiment as Bennet in a Tuesday press release.
“Republicans chose corporations over kids at Christmas,” Clemente said. “But public demand for tax fairness has grown so strong that such bills can no longer fly through Congress without serious opposition or even inquiry.”
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.
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