Expansion of the child tax credit faces an uncertain path in the Senate after a House vote

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Washington – The House witnessed a rare moment of bipartisanship late Wednesday when… Lawmakers approved a major tax bill That would Expand the child tax credit and extending some business tax breaks. But whether the Senate can maneuver the legislation through is another question.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 357 to 70, garnering more support from Democrats than Republicans. Next is the Senate, where 60 votes will be needed to send the bill to President Biden’s desk.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, a Republican from Missouri, unveiled an agreement on the legislation last month. They celebrated what they called a “common-sense, bipartisan, bicameral tax framework” that they said would “enhance the financial security of working families, advance American growth and competitiveness, and strengthen Main Street communities and businesses.”

The senator said: “If Jason Smith and Ron Wyden can agree on something to this degree, it is a complicated matter. I start with the idea that it is certainly a serious matter and we will take a look at it.” Kevin Kramera Republican from North Dakota who said he was undecided on the bill, told reporters at the Capitol on Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed on Wednesday that he supports the bill, and said he is working with Wyden to determine “the best way forward.”

Senator Ron Wyden at the Capitol on Thursday, June 1, 2023. / Credit: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senator Ron Wyden at the Capitol on Thursday, June 1, 2023. / Credit: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The legislation, known as the American Families and Workers Tax Relief Act of 2024, would do just that Enhance the child tax credit To provide assistance to low-income families. The boost is smaller than the pandemic-era increase, but it can still be at least lifted Half a million children out of poverty, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

However, opposition is expected from some Senate Republicans who have expressed concerns about the cost and the potential to boost Biden’s re-election bid. On the left, some progressives are also expected to oppose the legislation in its current form, arguing that it does not go so far as to support low-income Americans.

Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican, told reporters Thursday that he was “not inclined” to support the bill, noting that while he supports the tax provisions, he does not support “adding a new entitlement that would end up costing about $800 billion.” Over a decade.”

The bill passed by the House would expand the credit for three years at a cost of about $33 billion, according to the House. Congressional Budget Office. Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget Estimated in November The previous version of the package would have cost about $825 billion over ten years if the tax breaks were made permanent. But the final deal included various offsets to pay for the tax breaks, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates it will have little impact on the deficit over the next decade.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has reportedly expressed reservations about approving the bill during an election year.

“I think passing a tax bill that makes the president look good, and mailing checks before the election, means he can get re-elected, and then we won’t extend the 2017 tax cuts,” he said Wednesday. SemaphoreIn reference to the looming battle over Trump-era tax breaks, many of which are set to expire in 2025.

Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, said he believed the legislation would have “good support” across the chamber, calling it a “good bill” negotiated on a bipartisan basis.

“Perfect cannot be the enemy of good,” Cramer noted, pointing favorably to corporate tax benefits while saying elements of the child tax credit could be tightened.

“But when there’s enough for everyone to like most of it and enough for at least a lot of people to dislike parts of it, it seems like a bipartisan agreement,” Cramer added.

The bill would make it easier for more families to qualify for the child tax credit, along with increasing the amount from $1,600 per child to $1,800 in 2023, $1,900 in 2024 and $2,000 in 2025. It would also adjust the limit in the years Next to account for inflation.

Adding to the potential obstacles to the bill’s passage in the Senate is its already busy schedule. Senate negotiators have been engaged for months in talks about A Border Security Agreement Linked to the supplementary financing bill. Lawmakers expect that agreement to be reached any day, which would likely spur action that would occupy the chamber’s time.

Congress is also heading toward a funding cliff, with deadlines set to avert a government shutdown next month. A potential trial, if the House votes to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, could further restrict the Senate’s ability to accept the tax bill.

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