House Bill Expands Child Tax Credit

Ivanka Trump wanted a federal program to help working mothers pay for day care. House Republicans expanded the child tax credit instead.

The child tax credit expansion is part of the overhaul of the tax code unveiled Thursday by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives. Currently, taxpayers can take $1,000 off their federal taxes for each minor child. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would convert that into a “family tax credit” that would be worth $1,600 per child and $300 to nonchild dependents living with taxpayers.

Proponents argue this approach provides more flexibility than simply allowing taxpayers to write off day care expenses. People could use the additional money for that, to help care for a disabled grandparent, or to save for college or pay education expenses, according to supporters.

The bill also would allow wealthier taxpayers to claim the credit. Currently, the $1,000 child credit begins to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 and couples with adjusted gross incomes of $110,000. Those limits rise under the bill to $115,000 and $230,000, respectively.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the number-four Republican in the House, said during a news conference Thursday that the changes are a win for working mothers.

"We, too, are the faces of tax reform," she said.

Rodgers said the bill rewards workers and families.

"Our plan is pro-family, and it's pro-economic growth because we value hard work and family," she said.

Child care has been a pet issue of President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump. And the president called for help for working mothers during his acceptance speech last year at the Republican National Convention.

It is unclear whether Ivanka Trump considers the House plan sufficient, but Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — who has worked with her on the issue — indicated that he does not.

"House #TaxReform plan is only starting point. But $600 #ChildTaxCredit increase doesn't achieve our & @potus goal of helping working families," he tweeted Thursday.

Stephen Moore, an economist who helped Trump draft his tax plan during the campaign, told LifeZette that he recommended expanding the child tax credit as a way of helping working mothers. An extra $600 in the pockets of parents is not insubstantial, he said.

"It's a lot," he said. "You have three kids, that's $1,800."

Moore downplayed Rubio's criticism, noting that the junior senator from the Sunshine State ran for president and lost.

"If these ideas were so great, Marco Rubio would be president," he said.

Last Modified: November 5, 2017, 10:13 am

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