- Chuck Schumer is prodding Democrats to swiftly approve the Biden spending bill within weeks.
- He warned that any delay would jeopardize the flow of child tax credit checks to families.
- 9 million kids could either slip below poverty line or fall deeper into poverty if Congress fails to act.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York is doubling down on his ambitious timeline to pass President Joe Biden’s $US2 ($AU3) trillion social spending legislation by Christmas, citing the looming expiration of the expanded monthly child tax credit.
“Families need to know that critical programs like the Child Tax Credit will continue uninterrupted,” he said Monday on the Senate floor. “This program has already done immense good for millions upon millions of families. Build Back Better will make sure these benefits stay in place.”
Earlier on Monday, 95 House Democrats in the moderate-leaning New Democrat coalition urged the Senate to approve the bill by month’s end, warning about an abrupt end to direct payments. The last scheduled payment is on December 15.
Millions of families rely on the federal aid to cover expenses, such as the cost of rent, groceries, childcare, and school supplies. The measure provides up to $US300 ($AU426) per kid between six and 17, totaling $US3,600 ($AU5,108) yearly. For each child age five and below, it amounts to $US250 ($AU355) monthly or $US3,000 ($AU4,257).
Experts at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities project that 9 million kids could either slip below the poverty line or fall deeper into poverty if Congress fails to step in.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a swing vote, has not thrown his support behind the plan, calling much of it “a work in progress.” All 50 Senate Democrats must coalesce to approve the bill over a wall of GOP opposition.
Other Democrats tried projecting confidence that the plan would clear the upper chamber and meet Schumer’s deadline. “That’s the plan,” Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont told Insider.