WASHINGTON — Democrats believed they had an agreement to extend monthly child tax credit payments for another year until Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) expressed fresh concerns about the proposal this week.
“I was stunned by that,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), the chief Democratic vote-counter, said Thursday when asked about Manchin’s position on the issue.
“That is such a critical element, the largest tax cut for working Americans in the history of the United States … for this to come up as an issue toward the end was stunning,” he added.
Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.) said he was “very, very surprised” because he thought there was a deal to extend the program for one year.
Manchin wanted to prevent lower- and high-income households receiving the monthly benefits. But after months of negotiations between Sen. Kyrsten Synema (D-Ariz.) and Manchin, the White House declared in late October a Build Back Better “framework”This included the 2022 child benefit. Democrats rejoiced that Manchin’s “work requirement” was dead.
But on Wednesday, Manchin would only say he’s always supported the child tax credit, a tax policy that has existed for decades, while pointedly declining to tell HuffPost whether he supports the specific version Democrats are trying to extend — with monthly payments and full benefits even for people with no earned income.
Later, Manchin stated that Democrats should extend the child credit for 10 more years than just 1. The $1.75 Trillion bill would fall apart if this were done. A decade worth of child tax credits payments alone would run more than $1 billion.
Talks between President Joe Biden and Manchin over legislation seem to be ongoing poorlyThere were sharp differences over child tax credit, and other provisions. Without all 50 Democrats on board, the bill is effectively stalled and a vote isn’t likely until January at the earliest.
“We’re frustrated and disappointed,” Durbin added on Thursday. “We had more than ample opportunity to reach … a Democratic agreement. Never assumed bipartisan support. We missed an opportunity, but I’m not giving up.”
The sliver of good news for Democrats is that Manchin hasn’t formally declared his opposition to the bill, which is projected to cost $1.7 trillion over 10 years. The fact that he’s continuing to negotiate suggests there may yet be a window for a deal.
HuffPost readers – Have you ever relied on child tax credit monthly payments for your income? Tell us about it — email [email protected]. Please include your phone number if you’re willing to be interviewed.
It’s possible that Congress reaches some sort of agreement on a stand-alone extension of the child tax credit payments, which will cease this week if lawmakers do not act. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore. asked Wednesday for unanimous consent from the Senate to include a child credit extension in an unrelated bill. Republicans refused.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a leading advocate of the benefit, told HuffPost Democrats were talking about a stand-alone extension “a lot.”
“People are bouncing that idea around,” Booker said Thursday morning. “If anything comes of it or not, we’re gonna see. Today’s gonna be, I think, a very eventful day.”