‘We’re Not At All Happy’: House Conservatives Slam Child Tax Credit Expansion

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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Several Republican members of the House of Representatives criticized a new bipartisan deal in Congress to expand the child tax credit, casting doubt about whether it may pass the body.

On Jan. 16, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith announced a framework for legislation — known as the “The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024” — to expand the child tax credit, whose COVID-19 expansion expired in 2022. Some representatives, however, have assailed the framework for the possibility of credits being paid to unlawfully present parents of U.S. citizens, as well as for lacking deductions long demanded by high-tax constituencies, according to Politico. (RELATED: Congress Reaches Deal To Increase Child Tax Credit, Negotiate Tax Treaty With Taiwan)

“We’re not at all happy about the rather expensive further expansion of the child tax credit, which…by the way…wouldn’t rule out tax credits basically going to children of illegal aliens,” said Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas. “It’s a real problem that we’re concerned about given the current dynamic and what’s going on at the border.”

Eligibility for the child tax credit never been contingent upon the lawful immigration status of either parents or children, though a lawful presence requirement applies to other credits.

Some conservatives have attacked the deal for allowing claimants to use higher income from previous tax years to claim larger shares of the credit this year. Advancing American Freedom, a conservative group founded by former Vice President Mike Pence, has termed the deal a “welfare program,” Politico reported.

Other members hold different objections to the bill, such as representatives from the New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas, Politico reported. These members have sought an expansion of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, which enables residents of high-tax areas to deduct some of their federal burden to compensate for other taxes.

“I literally hear about it every single time I’m out in Jersey. At the grocery store, at the post office, at our schools from parents, when I’m visiting a police station: people are always asking about SALT,” said Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey in 2023, speaking of SALT deductions generally. Gottheimer is the co-chair of the Bipartisan SALT Caucus, which includes several members.

Opposition has also emerged to other aspects of the bill. Democratic members are reportedly disgruntled that the credit’s threshold, at $1,800 per year with $100 annual increases until 2025, isn’t higher.

Some Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are opposed to the cost offset in the bill, a rollback of the Employee Retention Tax Credit, which has been controversial among conservatives for its size, Politico reported. They argue that its abolition will not save money.

House leaders are seeking to pass the bill as early as the week of Jan. 29, which would require a two-thirds vote in favor under a suspension of the rules. Opposition may prevent the bill from reaching that threshold.

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