Warnock urges White House to prioritize renewing child tax credit payments

AJC file photo. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

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AJC file photo. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

With the White House rebooting negotiations with Congress on a climate change and social spending package, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock wants to ensure that a renewal of monthly advanced child tax credit payments is a top priority.

He and four other Democratic senators are sending a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris today asking them to make the program a “centerpiece” of discussions on a revamped Build Back Better package.

“The consequences of failing to extend the CTC expansion are dire, particularly as families face another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote. “After historic progress, it is unacceptable to return to a status quo in which children are America’s poorest residents and child poverty costs our nation more than $1 trillion per year.”

Their letter likens the program to a tax cut for low- and middle-income families. The other signers are Colorado’s Michael Bennet, Ohio’s Sherrod Brown, New Jersey’s Cory Booker and Oregon’s Ron Wyden.

Parents of roughly 2 million Georgia children received the monthly payments during the final six months of 2021. The House included a one-year extension in the $1.7 trillion Build Back Better bill passed without Republicans’ support, but the legislation fizzled in the Senate mainly due to opposition from two Democrats: West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema.

Without them, Democrats don’t have the 50-vote majority they need to pass legislation in that chamber. Manchin said the child tax credits were among the provisions he would like to see altered or left out of the package.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the White House had renewed conversations with senators in hopes of getting some version of Build Back Better passed but declined to give specifics.

“I think what our objective is and what the president’s objective is, is to move forward on an effort in the Senate to lower costs for the American people and do that without raising the deficit — pay for it; make sure we’re easing the burden that families have across the country,” she said. “We need 50 votes to do that, but we have not set a deadline.”

ExploreExpiring child tax credit payments could create financial cliff for Georgia families