- 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 of a pair of reporters from the New York Times. Shortly after the law was passed, he privately confided to a friend that it was among the many benefits that could become too popular for Republicans to walk away from even if they regain 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 resistance from Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republicans. Democrats initially wanted to extend it for at least a year as part of their Build Back Better legislation. But Manchin sank it, partly because of his opposition.
Biden recently admitted that the child benefit is unlikely to be reinstated anytime soon. Manchin also tried to crush all efforts to revive social spending initiatives in a smaller, revamped version of the bill. Democrats are embarking on a last-ditch push 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 halted 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 only a month after the program expired, and child poverty has since risen.
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.
Manchin never seemed convinced of the program’s benefits. He remained skeptical that the federal government was sending monthly checks to families with no strings attached.
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 caused Booker to rebut, telling him that families would likely use it for day-to-day expenses like diapers.
Democrats are increasingly worried about a midterm blowout in November due to rising prices. According to a Morning Consult and Politico survey released last month, Republicans are now ahead of Democrats among a specific group of voters: parents who have already received the Child Tax Credit.