Americans have received three stimulus payments since the COVID-19 pandemic started in spring 2020 – $1,200 in March 2020, $600 in December 2020, and $1,400 in March 2021. In addition to those payments, many parents received up to $300 per month per child for the last six months of 2021.
But Congress has appeared reluctant to move forward with additional stimulus checks and President Joe Biden’s proposal to extend child tax payments through 2022 failed in the Senate. A new measure, however, would reinstitute the direct payments designed to help families.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, introduced the Family Security Act that would send payments of $350 per month to eligible families with children ages 0-5 and $250 per month to those with children ages 6-17. The measure would also allow expectant parents to apply for benefits that would begin four months prior to their child’s due date. The maximum monthly payment would be $1,250.
“American families are facing greater financial strain, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and marriage and birth rates are at an all-time low,” Romney said. “On top of that, we have not comprehensively reformed our family support system in nearly three decades, and our changing economy has left millions of families behind.”
For example, a married couple with two children ages 4 and 9 making $38,990 a year – 150% of the federal poverty line –currently receives an end-of-year lump sum tax return of $7,041. Under the Family Security Act, their annual benefit would increase by $2,318 with 75% coming through monthly installments.
Romney’s plan calls for the benefit to be reduced by $50 for every $1,000 above income thresholds- $200,000 for single filers and $400,000 for joint filers. It would also put work requirements in place for beneficiaries.
Romney first introduced the bill last year but it failed to gain momentum among lawmakers. It’s been revived recently as Biden’s Build Back Better Plan – including extensions of a child tax credit – died.
“Now that it’s clear “Build Back Better” isn’t moving forward and with bipartisan opposition to extending the President’s ill-crafted Child Tax Credit, the Administration has an opportunity to actually work with Republicans and Democrats on lasting, fiscally-responsible family policy,” Romney said.