- 95 House Democrats are pressuring the Senate to pass the Biden spending bill by December’s end.
- They’re warning that families “can’t afford to lose” the monthly child tax credit.
- Schumer wants to pass it by Christmas, but Democrats still disagree on many fronts.
Ninety-five House Democrats are urging the Senate to approve President Joe Biden’s social spending bill before month’s end, warning that action is necessary to prevent a lapse in monthly child tax credit payments.
“Our members stood united in passing the Build Back Better Act last month and now it is time for the Senate to act before the expanded Child Tax Credit payments expire at the end of December,” Rep. Suzan DelBene, chair of the moderate-leaning New Democrat Coalition, said in a statement.
She went on: “American families cannot afford to lose this critical middle-class tax cut, which has cut child poverty in half and helped millions of families afford childcare, pay their bills, and put food on the table.”
The remarks come as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York issued another statement on Monday doubling down on approving the $US2 ($AU3) trillion Build Back Better legislation by Christmas. The measure will set up universal pre-K for young children, renew the bulked-up child tax credit for another year, and combat the climate emergency.
All 50 Senate Democrats must coalesce around the package so it clears the 50-50 chamber over unanimous GOP opposition. Schumer said the Senate parliamentarian is still working to ensure all parts of the bill have an effect on the federal budget, so it complies with the party-line reconciliation process. Otherwise, some provisions could still be stripped.
But the swift timeline for passage is also threatened by at least one key swing vote: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. He has declined to throw his backing behind the House-approved bill, including the one-year child tax credit expansion. He told Insider that part was still “a work in progress” last week.
Other Senate Democrats are starting to raise concern about a potential lapse. “I think it’s extraordinarily important to keep this program on track,” Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, chair of the Finance Committee, recently told reporters.
Millions of families are relying on the benefit to cover expenses like rent, groceries, childcare, and school supplies. The Internal Revenue Service will distribute the final monthly payments on December 15 and families will receive the other half at tax time.
Other disagreements threaten to capsize their rapid timetable. Senate negotiations on tax cuts for high-earning Americans are faltering. In addition, Manchin remains opposed to a provision authorizing four weeks of paid medical and family leave within the House bill.
Lawmakers are also struggling to clear a must-pass defense spending bill. Congress also has nine days to raise the debt limit or the US might have trouble paying its financial obligations.