Families with children could win big if Democrats pass their $3.5 trillion spending package.
The Senate on Wednesday voted 50-49 to open debate on a plan to authorize $3.5 trillion of spending for social programs and climate change. No Republicans voted in favor of the measure.
That came a day after the chamber passed a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.
The Motley Fool, a USA Today content partner, said the larger plan aims at offering relief to families with children. Among the proposed benefits are a continuation of the expanded Child Tax Credit, free pre-K programs for kids 3 and 4, and expanded paid family and medical leave.
Families already have received pandemic-related relief this year with a round of $1,400 stimulus checks that began going out in March, and the newly expanded Child Tax Credit.
The Motley Fool said continuing the expanded Child Tax Credit, currently applying only to the current year, would be huge for families.
Previously, the tax credit allowed families to collect up to $2,000 per child under the age of 17, of which $1,400 was refundable. That credit also was payable as a single lump sum.
This year, the Child Tax Credit is worth up to $3,600 for children under age 6, up to $3,000 for children aged 6 through 17, and up to $500 for children aged 18 and full-time students aged 19 to 24 who are claimed as dependents.
The tax credit also is fully refundable so that families with no tax liability get all of that money paid to them.
This year's Child Tax Credit also is being partially paid in installments as well as a lump sum — a significant aspect, according to The Motley Fool. That's because families can receive half of the tax credit in monthly payments from July through December, and avoid spending needed money earlier in the year. That also means they'll only need to wait until 2022 to get half of the money they're owed.
Low-income families could benefit greatly from a continued Child Tax Credit. The Motley Fool cited Columbia University's Center on Poverty and Social Policy saying the expanded credit could reduce the child poverty rate in the country by 45%, reducing it from around 14% down to 7.5%.
As for free universal pre-K, it could assist families that struggle to cover the cost of childcare. Care.com reported that the cost of putting a young child into a childcare center averaged $340 per week last year.
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