West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) incurred the wrath of his fellow Democrats earlier this month when he announced that President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better legislation isn’t something he can support.
However, one writer recently argued that Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) is trying to salvage one of the bill’s key provisions, the child tax credit program.
Columnist Karl W. Smith noted in a piece published Monday that Romney has put forward a proposal that would make Biden’s child tax credit permanent.
Known as the Family Security Act, Smith wrote that Romney’s bill would grant “child allowance benefits to expecting parents four months before their child is due, for example — managing to be both pro-life and pro-choice.”
“To allay liberal concerns about progressivity and conservative worries about disincentives, Romney’s proposal would reform the earned income tax credit, which would become a pure subsidy for lower-income workers regardless of how many dependents they claim,” Smith continued.
He added that the initiative would be funded “largely by ending both the state and local deduction and the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) program, the successor to what used to be known as welfare.”
“Unlike those programs, a universal child benefit wouldn’t discourage poor parents from working for fear of losing their benefits,” the writer contended.
“Nor would it encourage affluent parents to move to more economically segregated municipalities in order to maximize their deductions.”
Some conservatives agree
Romney’s plan has been embraced by some on the right, with National Review contributor Yuval Levin writing that it fixes “some (unintentional but meaningful) disincentives to marriage in the existing welfare and work-support system.”
Still, the suggestion has also encountered opposition among some on the right, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), who has introduced a tax credit plan of his own that contains work requirements.
“I don’t know how many Republican votes there would be for just a direct-payment program, which in my mind is not the direction we want to go,” Atlantic magazine writer Peter Nicholas quoted Rubio as saying in May.
Nicholas also cited sources within the Biden administration who object to the replacement of TANF, and ending state and local tax (SALT) deductions — a provision that disproportionately benefits wealthy people in high-tax, politically blue areas.