NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Part of the COVID-19 relief package being considered by the House of Representatives includes a huge financial boost for families with children.
If the bill passes and is signed into law by President Joe Biden, parents would get as much as $3,600 per child per year. Specifically, it's $3,600 for children 6 and below, $3,000 for children ages 7-18. Unlike previous tax credits, these would be distributed in monthly checks. Single parents making more than $75,000 and couples making more than $150,000 would not be eligible.
Similar to a stimulus check, the money can be spent on anything. "Some of them may still be behind on their rental payments and things like that. A lot of people still in potential foreclosure so this will give them some money to at least move money around if nothing else to pay for things," said NewsChannel 5 Political Analyst Pat Nolan.
The program was designed for parents like Briana Proudfoot. She's a single mom who works in the hospitality business in Nashville. The pandemic has slowed down her work shifts, and when she does get on the schedule, Proudfoot struggles to find and afford a babysitter. "Child care has been our biggest issue since moving here actually. Finding reliable babysitters that don’t charge more than I make," said Proudfoot. "To be able to find or pay for a babysitter that would be reliable would change the game for us."
Proudfoot says if the relief bill is passed, she would be able to afford a more expensive and reliable sitter. "I’ve had to call out of multiple shifts - I’ve had babysitters cancel last minute," she said.
Nolan says the way the bill is structured, these child tax credits are set to expire this time next year, but he wouldn't be surprised if these monthly stipends become the new normal. "I think it’s going to be very hard for Congress to say -- no you can’t do that anymore," said Nolan.
Democrats in Congress point to studies that argue this could cut child poverty rates up to 45% overall and up to 50% in African American communities.
Many Republicans in Congress are calling it a massive increase to our welfare system and could potentially be a disincentive for people looking for new jobs.
The House of Representatives is expected to pass the COVID-19 relief bill with the child tax credits included, and President Biden has indicated he will sign it.
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