Proposed federal legislation would restore a fully refundable child tax credit to millions of families, increasing payments for children under 6 years old from the current $2,000 to $3,600 annually. The tax credit for children ages 6 to 17 would rise from $2,000 to $3,000.
Currently, only up to $1,500 of the credit is refundable for some lower-income families.
Introduced June 6 by Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., and Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., the American Family Act currently has 209 cosponsors — all Democrats — in the House.
An expanded child tax credit offered as part of federal pandemic relief under the American Rescue Plan expired in 2021. According to U.S. Census Bureau data released in September, that initiative lifted 5.3 million people — including 2.9 million children — out of poverty in 2021 and helped spur a 46% decline in poverty from the year before.
The newly introduced legislation would also:
Index the tax credit payments to inflation so they adjust accordingly.
Extend the credit to families in U.S. territories.
Offer the same amount of tax credit for every child in their year of birth, regardless of the month in which they're born.
In a June 7 statement, Casey Peeks, Children’s Defense Fund director of federal policy, said the proposed legislation “is not just an investment in America’s children and families; it is a statement of our values and commitment to framing a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive.”
Food Research & Action Center President Luis Guardia said the measure presents Congress with “a historic opportunity to take an important step to address hunger among families with children and improve the nutrition, health, and economic security of our nation.”
A Republican-backed measure titled the American Families and Jobs Act — also introduced June 6 by U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, R-Mo. — would provide tax relief to individuals and small businesses, as well as establish tax incentives for economic development in rural communities. Notably, however, it leaves out an extension of the child tax credit.