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Biden touts expanded child tax credit

When the first round of monthly child tax credits hit Americans' bank accounts Thursday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took a victory lap at the White House, talking about the "historic day" for families. Americans and emphasizing the radical change in payments. it could represent millions of American children living in poverty.

"Today, for families across our country, for children across the country, help is here," Harris said, before introducing the president. "This has never happened before. And the United States, yes, it is a big problem."

Biden and Harris marked the launch of checks and direct deposit of the child tax credit with an event at the White House that Americans will benefit from. Both leaders nodded to those families in their comments.

"This has the potential to reduce child poverty in the same way that Social Security reduced poverty for the elderly," Biden said.

With the policy, families earning less than $ 150,000 a year and single parents earning less than $ 112,500 are now eligible for a credit of up to $ 3,600 per child. The payments will go to 39 million households, according to the IRS.

Biden frequently touted the payments as a "tax cut for the middle class," saying it is aimed at "people who are struggling, or just looking for a little, as my father would say, a little room to breathe." "Ninety-seven percent of the children who receive this credit come from working families, and the other 3% include children raised by retired grandparents or someone with a serious disability," he said.

Those families who qualify for the credit, which was expanded as part of Biden's $ 1.9 billion American Rescue Plan, will receive monthly payments without taking any other action. Initial eligibility will be based on 2019 or 2020 tax returns, the IRS said.

"I think this will be one of the things the vice president and I will be most proud of when our terms are up," added Biden. The president also seized the opportunity from the bullies' pulpit to pressure Congress to extend the tax cut, as it will expire in a year.

"These tax cut payments come automatically. But it didn't happen automatically," Biden said. Through Democrats' $ 3.5 trillion human infrastructure plan, the tax credit could get an extension. Biden argued the case, speaking directly to lawmakers. "We should not allow taxes to go up on working families. We should not allow child poverty to continue to taint our conscience or drag down our economy. So I tell my colleagues in Congress: This tax cut for working families is something we should extend, not finish next year, "he continued. "That's what I tell my colleagues in Congress.

This tax cut for working families is something we should extend and not end next year. And I tell everyone who is watching. Make sure your family, friends and community know about this tax cut. "

The latest expansion under Biden increased the child tax credit from $ 2,000 to $ 3,000 for children over 6 years old and to $ 3,600 for children under 6 years old.

While Biden laid out the mechanics of payments in his comments, he didn't give a plan to reach families whose incomes are so low that they generally don't pay taxes. The Treasury Department has estimated that automatic payments will go to 88% of children's families nationwide, but that leaves about 7.8 million children whose families would have to register to receive the payments. He urged families to visit, but questions remain about the administration's overall outreach effort.

Biden closed his remarks by highlighting some of his accomplishments in office, linking the "pioneering effort" for the child tax credit to the "wartime effort" to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19.

"We are demonstrating that democracy can help people and deliver in a timely manner: saving lives, improving lives, helping drive a record recovery, giving working families a chance to fight again," he said.

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