Speed Reads

coronavirus stimulus update

House Democrats will push to include $250-300 monthly child payments in stimulus bill

House Democrats will release legislation Monday to provide millions of U.S. families $3,600 a year for each child under 6 and $3,000 for every child age 6 to 17, with the payments sent directly to parents each month starting in July, The Washington Post first reported. The legislation, spearheaded by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), will likely be added to President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package. Biden wants his American Rescue Plan to use an expanded child tax credit to cut the the child poverty rate in half.

The White House and Senate Democrats have reviewed Neal's proposal and support it, the Post reports, though it may have to be modified to meet the strict, peculiar rules of the Senate budget reconciliation process. Under the plan, the IRS would send $250-300 monthly payments to households for a year, though some Democrats have said they would push to make the allowances permanent later this year.

Unlike more generous payments proposed last week by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Neal's legislation starts phasing out the checks for families earning $150,000 a year, or $75,000 for individual parents. Romney's plan would also have the Social Security Administration handle the payments and offset the cost by eliminating or trimming other welfare programs. Neal's proposal is estimated to cost $120 billion a year, and a Columbia University analysis found it would cut the number of children in poverty by as much as 54 percent, or 5 million children.

"America has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the developed world, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in part because it spends less on child benefits than almost any other," the Post reports.

"The pandemic is driving families deeper and deeper into poverty, and it's devastating," Neal said in a statement. "This money is going to be the difference in a roof over someone's head or food on their table. This is how the tax code is supposed to work for those who need it most." Many Republicans and conservative groups responded negatively to Romney's plan and they are even less likely to support Neal's.