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New year, same demands: Joe Manchin will consider supporting Biden’s agenda if monthly child tax credits get an income limit — or are removed altogether

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

  • Sen. Manchin tanked passage of Biden’s agenda last year, largely due to the enhanced child tax credit.
  • Axios reported Manchin is open to resuming negotiations if the CTC is cut or gets a lower income caps.
  • Manchin has remained adamant the CTC should be limited and has also proposed work requirements.

While Democratic lawmakers were disappointed to end 2021 without passing President Joe Biden’s sweeping climate and social-spending package, many of them remained confident they would get it done in the new year.

However, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — the centrist Democrat holding out on the package — doesn’t appear to be easing up on his demands.

Axios reported on Sunday that Manchin is open to revisiting negotiations on the Build Back Better agenda if the White House removes the monthly child tax credit payments from the package completely, or significantly lowers the income cap for eligible families, citing people familiar with the matter.

This is a demand Manchin has long held. The expanded child tax credit would have allowed parents who earn below a certain income to receive monthly payments of $300 per child under 6 and $250 for children between 6 and 18 for another year, but the last payment went out in December and has yet to be renewed due to Manchin’s resistance.

“Do you believe people making $200,000 and $400,000 should still get the child tax credit the same as someone making $50,000, $60,000, or $70,000 that really needs it?” Manchin previously said. As Insider previously reported, the $200,000 and $400,000 levels are where the child tax credit phases out faster for individual or joint tax filers, and households making more than those levels each year already aren’t able to receive the full credit.

As Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported, Manchin’s objections to the monthly payments extend beyond an income cap — he also wanted to institute work requirements to receive the federal benefit and has raised concerns parents would spend the payments on drugs. 

It’s unclear when, or if, Biden’s agenda will make it to his desk for signature, but given Democrats need 50 votes to pass the economic package, Manchin’s support is crucial. The Washington Post reported that prior to sinking negotiations before Christmas, Manchin made a $1.8 trillion pitch to the White House that excluded the enhanced child tax credit, reflecting his firm stance the monthly payments need to be altered or removed altogether.

Still, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told his Democratic colleagues last month that despite Manchin’s resistance, he will bring Build Back Better to a vote early this year to deliver on Democrats’ promises. 

Schumer wrote in a letter that “nearly all of us were disappointed by the decision to delay floor consideration of the Build Back Better Act because Senator Manchin could not come to an agreement with the president. However, neither that delay, nor other recent pronouncements, will deter us from continuing to find a way forward.”

“We simply cannot give up,” he added.

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