Voices from the Idaho EdNews Community

Crapo’s playing politics with popular Child Tax Credit

It matters how we invest our federal dollars. Americans rely on these funds to deliver everything from transportation and national defense to health care and education. It also matters that we collect revenue in a fair way that builds a strong middle class. Our child tax credit helps in two ways. First, it ensures our tax code never pushes working families into poverty. Second, it gives families a boost to their finances when they are raising kids and need it the most. Unfortunately, bipartisan legislation to strengthen the credit is now being held up by Senator Mike Crapo.

The child tax credit has long been one of the nation’s strongest tools to give tens of millions of families breathing room. Enacted in 1997, the credit provides up to $2,000 per child annually to about 40 million families every year. The American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Biden made it even more impactful. For the first time, the maximum credit was available to lower-income families that previously received only a portion. Monthly payments offered stability for families facing fluctuating finances over the year. These temporary enhancements cut child poverty in half while benefiting 428,000 children in Idaho alone.

Pending bipartisan legislation would restore credit improvements and nudge thousands of Idaho kids above the poverty line while spurring economic growth. The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act would again allow families with lower wages access portions of the credit they have been blocked from receiving. It also adjusts the credit for inflation starting in 2025 to keep pace with the cost of living.

Other key investments of the bipartisan plan include spurring business investment in domestic research and development, incentivizing the supply of affordable homes to families with modest incomes, and providing relief to taxpayers devastated by natural disasters.

Despite the clear benefits, Mike Crapo, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance committee, is holding up the legislation, even as Democrats attempt to compromise.

Crapo’s move is particularly disappointing considering his previous support for the child tax credit. As a member of the U.S. House, he backed the original credit in 1997 and voted to temporarily increase it in 2017 when a Republican was in the White House. His about-face reflects two trends within today’s Republican Party. First, the GOP is increasingly blatant in its prioritization of tax giveaways for the rich over building up the middle class. Second, the GOP consistently blocks legislation that helps Americans if a Democrat is in the White House.

While Mike Crapo plays politics with the family budgets Idahoans use to put food on the table, Democrats will continue working toward a fair tax code and thriving children.

Rep. Lauren Necochea

Rep. Lauren Necochea

Representative Lauren Necochea is the House Assistant Democratic Leader, representing District 19. She is also chair of the Idaho Democratic Party.

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