House Democrats introduced legislation Monday to increase the child tax credit to at least $3,000 per child in the form of monthly direct payments. The increase is one of the cornerstones of President Joe Biden's COVID-19 relief bill, aimed at helping tackle child poverty.
The payments would be $3,600 per year for children under age 6, or $300 per month. For children ages 6-17, the amount would be reduced to $3,000 per year or $250 per month.
The amount would be reduced for individual parents making more than $75,000 per year or couples earning more than $150,000.
Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee unveiled the proposal Monday as part of its portion of the bill that Congress is piecing together for a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.
The monthly payment is seen as a way for parents to meet bills they are facing at the moment rather getting one lump sum.
According to the committee, the proposal leaves it up to the Secretary of the Treasury to determine whether issuing payments on a monthly basis is possible.
"The payments are intended to be delivered on a monthly basis, but if the Secretary determines that this frequency is infeasible, the Secretary is directed to issue the payments as frequently as is feasible," a statement by the committee said.
The current standard child tax credit of $2,000 per child comes after parents file their returns in April. That amount phases out for single parents making more than $200,000 and couples earning $400,000.
If approved, the payments wouldn't begin until July so that the IRS can prepare for the change. CNN reports the change would only be for one year, but Democratic Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Suzan DelBene of Washington and Ritchie Torres of New York will introduce a separate bill to make it permanent.
While the proposal is likely to get pushback by Republicans, it does have some bipartisan support. Sen. Mitt Romney last week reportedly signaled his desire to increase the child tax credit to $350 per month for children up to age 6 and $250 per month for those ages 6-17.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says the U.S. has one of the highest rates for child poverty in the developed world.