Congress reaches deal to expand Child Tax Credit

The recent announcement from Capitol Hill regarding a bipartisan deal to expand the Child Tax Credit marks a significant development in U.S. social policy, particularly in the context of supporting families with children. This news comes two years after a previous expansion of the credit ended, which had been highly impactful for many American families.

The Impact of the 2021 Expansion

The expansion of the Child Tax Credit in 2021, under the American Rescue Plan, had a remarkable effect. According to data from the Census Bureau, this expansion played a critical role in reducing child poverty. It is credited with lifting more than two million children out of poverty, bringing the child poverty rate to a historic low.

The story of Leanne Swain, a stay-at-home mom of five, illustrates the real-life impact of these policies. During the pandemic, her family’s financial situation became precarious when the children’s father lost his job. The expanded Child Tax Credit at that time, which allowed parents to receive up to $3,600 per child, provided crucial support for essentials like food, household necessities, and children’s clothing.

Changes in the Child Tax Credit

However, after 2021, the amount of the Child Tax Credit reverted to $2,000 per child, with only $1,600 of that being refundable. This reduction in support led families like Swain’s to make significant adjustments, including returning to work amidst financial struggles.

The latest development from lawmakers presents a hopeful change for families. The proposed agreement aims to increase the maximum refund per child to $1,800 for the 2023 tax year, $1,900 for 2024, and $2,000 for 2025. This increase, although more modest than the 2021 expansion, would still provide families with additional financial relief.

Senator Tammy Duckworth acknowledges the proposal as a positive step but also notes that it may not go far enough in addressing the needs of all children. Despite this, there is optimism that the bill will pass, especially as people begin to file their taxes.

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The ongoing discussions and negotiations regarding the Child Tax Credit reflect a broader concern for child welfare and family support in the United States. The proposed expansion, while not as substantial as previous ones, represents a continued effort to provide financial assistance to families in need. As the bill awaits passage, many hope it will offer some relief and stability to families struggling with the economic challenges of raising children.

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