In the News
HuffPost: Joe Manchin Thinks Parents Should Have To Work For Child Tax Credit
By Arthur Delaney
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) suggested Sunday that he’s fundamentally opposed to a key part of the Democratic agenda: monthly benefits for parents.
Since July, the federal government has been sending most parents monthly cash payments, a revolutionary policy that could slash child poverty ― but the payments will stop after December if Congress doesn’t pass a new law to keep them going.
Manchin voted for the American Rescue Plan, which started the payments, but is now evidently having second thoughts, saying the program should be more “need-based” and helpful to parents.
“There’s no work requirements whatsoever,” Manchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” where he outlined his opposition to his party’s plans for higher corporate taxes to pay for more social spending.
“There’s no education requirements whatsoever, for better skill sets,” Manchin said. “Don’t you think, if we’re going to help the children, that the people should make some effort?”
The monthly payments are technically advance payments of the child tax credit, which had previously provided refunds at tax time for some families. One of the key changes that Democrats made to the credit was to eliminate the earnings requirement, allowing people to receive payments even if they had no income.
Spokespeople for Manchin did not respond to a request for clarification, but if the senator thinks it’s a problem that there are no “work requirements,” it’s possible he believes Congress should bring back the earnings requirement.
Requiring earnings would cut off the poorest parents and probably water down the policy’s poverty-reduction power. Among wealthy countries, the U.S. has had one of the highest child poverty rates, partly because it was one of the only countries without a child allowance program.
Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), one of the top proponents of the expanded credit in the House, said moderates especially should favor the policy and that a work requirement would hurt the middle class.
“Before Democrats expanded the credit in the American Rescue Plan, one-in-three children were left out of receiving the full benefit because their families didn’t make enough money to receive the full credit,” DelBene said. “The Child Tax Credit is an important tax cut for middle-class families and in only two months is already having an incredible impact on American children.”