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How much would the extension of the Child Tax Credit proposed by Bernie Sanders be?

The Inflation Ruduction Act became law on Sunday. One aspect missing, the extension of the child tax credit proposed by Bernie Sanders.

The Inflation Ruduction Act became law on Sunday. One aspect missing, the extension of the child tax credit proposed by Bernie Sanders.
Kent NishimuraGetty

Sunday’s vote on the Infrastructure Reduction Act (IRA) showed, once again, the differences between Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and the Democratic Party. Amendment after amendment, Sanders stood alone in support of publicly popular measures that were included in Democratic Party platform in 2020 but voted down by caucus members.

Another attempt at passing the enhanced child tax credit

One of the amendments offered by Sanders would have extended the enhanced child tax credit through 2027. The extension applied to the structure of the enhanced child tax credit passed under the American Rescue Plan in 2021, which allowed for the sending of monthly payments to families with children: $3,600 for children under six and $3,000 for those older. These values apply to each child in the house.

In 2021, six payments were sent to households, and child poverty rates fell by thirty percent.

With inflation rising across major sectors, including food, utilities, and rent, poverty rates have snowballed to their previous state.

The traditional child tax credit has kicked back in, meaning that far fewer families will be eligible as there are income minimums. Additionally, the amount will return to $2,000 for children under sixteen and no longer be fully refundable. The 2021 version that Sanders attempted to see reimposed expanded eligibility to around twenty-four million children which is why it was able to make such dramatic cuts in the number of children living in poverty.

The Senator from Vermont made it clear that he would always vote to support the bill. However, unlike other Senators who refused to put forward or vote for an amendment they supported, Sanders did both.

What amendments were introduced by Senator Sanders?

  • Extension of the 2021 child tax credit through 2027
  • Establish a civilian climate corp., similar to that of America Corp. and City Year.
  • Expand Medicare coverage to cover dental, hearing, and eye care
  • Establish caps for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D
  • Removes provisions that would create caps on royalties and fees for companies leasing federal offshore waters to extract oil and gas. Roll Call also reported that the amendment “would strike the extension of a tax credit for carbon oxide sequestration for some facilities, remove $150 million for the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management.”

The child tax credit extension was one of five amendments introduced by Sanders during the “vota-a-rama” session, which took place over the weekend. During the passage of a reconciliation bill, which only needs fifty-one votes to pass, an unlimited amount of amendments can be put forth, and a vote can be forced quite easily. Thirty-seven amendments were offered in total, five by Senator Sanders, one by Raphael Warnock, and one by Mark Warner; only the third made it into the bill.

Indigenous groups respond to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act

Citing the careful negotiations that brought the delicate package over the finish line, most Democratic Senators refused to support any amendments that threatened to alter the bill’s content. On the climate front, some groups see the bill agree with Sanders and see it as a small step for action and a significant win for fossil fuel companies. While there are provisions for projects focused on environmental justice initiatives, the Indigenous Environmental Network Statement noted that “the bill offers no criteria for what qualifies as an EJ provision.”

“As a result, there is no clear way to verify the promised amount of investment. Moreover, a provision that has no positive impact can claim to have EJ priorities.

Additionally, the organization found other aspects of the bill, describing them as “a wholesale investment into destructive climate false solutions designed to line the pockets of the fossil fuel and energy industries and cultivate the growth of the extractive industries.”


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