An architect of the expanded child tax credit pushed back against Sen. Joe Manchin on Wednesday, arguing the US shouldn’t be punitive against non-working families.
“I don’t think we should be punishing workers at the moment when 97% of the people who receive the tax credit are working — when there are grandparents, people driving Ubers and Lyfts that may not file W-2s,” Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado told Insider.
It comes after Manchin dug in further on attaching what amounts to an earnings requirement on the beefed-up child tax credit, which expired last month. “I’ve been basically very clear on that,” he told Insider on Tuesday. “I think there should be a work requirement.”
He also wants families to demonstrate they have taxable earnings with a W-2 form, which some experts say could shut out parents who are Uber drivers or independent contractors. A W-2 is typically issued by an employer to prepare a person to file their taxes.
Manchin’s position makes him an outlier among Congressional Democrats. Most favor keeping the expanded child tax credit and ensuring families with little or no taxable earnings qualify for the program.
The one-year child tax credit expansion was enacted under President Joe Biden’s stimulus law last year. It allowed most families to get up to $300 each month per kid, depending on their age. Under the program, parents could get $3,000 per child between 6 and 17, and $3,600 for each kid age 5 and under.
That’s only one disagreement that’s holding up Democrats from advancing President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan to expand healthcare, childcare and combat the climate emergency. Manchin came out against it last month, arguing the House-passed bill must be overhauled so all its programs run for a ten-year period.
Without his support, Senate Democrats can’t clear the package over unanimous GOP opposition.
Manchin’s opposition forced the party to bench Build Back Better until later this month. Now Senate Democrats are prioritizing a fresh push to expand voting rights and elections laws.
Asked by reporters about the status of the Build Back Better package on Wednesday, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia responded: “I’m gonna just go with TBD.” He later made an accordion gesture with his hands to illustrate the fluid nature of the negotiations.
“I’ve never seen any of these things, even rational things like infrastructure ever be a straight line,” Warner told Insider.
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