- McConnell worried that the Biden child tax credit would be too difficult for Republicans to dislodge.
- A book by two New York Times reporters reveals McConnell’s unease with a key part of the stimulus bill.
- The one-year-old child’s allowance expired due to opposition from the Manchins and the Republicans.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell never backed President Joe Biden’s stimulus bill, which passed with only Democratic votes early last year. But one of his social programs seemed to particularly alarm him.
McConnell was pissed off about the expanded child
according to a forthcoming book “This Will Not Pass” by a pair of New York Times reporters. Insider got it ahead of its May 3 release.,
Shortly after the law passed in March 2021, the Republican from Kentucky privately told a friend that it was among many benefits that may prove too popular for Republicans to even dismiss. they regained control of Congress.
“If Americans got used to the benefits of the new law, he suggested, it would become politically untenable for Republicans to repeal its most popular measures,” he suggested. wrote Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin. “The country, McConnell lamented, could pass a tipping point to become a European-style social welfare state – exactly the outcome he had spent his career arguing against.”
A spokesperson for McConnell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The inflated child tax credit expired four months ago due to opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republicans led by McConnell. Democrats initially wanted to extend it for at least a year as part of their Build Back Better legislation. But Manchin sank the House bill in part because of his resistance to the benefit.
Biden recently admitted that the child benefit is unlikely to be reinstated anytime soon. Manchin also tried to crush any attempts to relaunch social spending initiatives in a smaller version of the bill. Democrats are preparing a last-ditch effort to pass a slimmer package with its 50-50 Senate approval.
The stimulus law transformed the child tax credit into a near-universal one-year cash benefit for families, widening eligibility for the first time to poorer households with little or no taxable income. Families received $250 per child aged 6 to 17 or $300 for each child aged 5 and under.
The revised program has shaken child poverty and reduced it by about a third, according to a study by Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy. But those gains were wiped out just a month after the initiative expired. Child poverty has since increased.
Families who spoke to Insider’s Leo Aquino said they use federal money to cover basic expenses like groceries and utility bills, as well as to pay medical bills. This did not win widespread popularity among voters during the program’s brief lifespan, although aid recipients strongly supported it.
Manchin never seemed to embrace child benefit. He remained skeptical of the federal government sending monthly checks to families with no strings attached and pushed to reinstate a work requirement. It put Manchin on a collision course with the vast majority of his party, which backed renewal as a monthly check program and provided a buffer for poorer families against financial shocks.
The authors wrote that the conservative Democrat complained privately to some of his colleagues that the enhanced child tax credit would pay people to have more children when West Virginia families could not afford the ones they already had.
Manchin also told Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey that he believed the money would be spent on drugs. This led Booker to rebut and tell her that families would use it for everyday expenses like diapers, according to authors Martin and Burns.
Democrats are increasingly worried about a midterm blowout in November due to rising prices. According to a survey by Morning Consult and Politico released last monthRepublicans are now ahead of Democrats among a specific group of voters: parents who have already received the enhanced child tax credit.