Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) has proposed consolidating federal family benefits policies with a single benefit that delivers monthly payments made to families with children under the age of 17.
The legislation, dubbed the Family Security Act, would provide $350 per month to families with a child under the age of 6, and $250 per month to families with a child under the age of 17. In total, a family could receive up to $4,200 per child under the age of six, and $3,000 per child older than six but younger than 17-years-old, every year. Payments could also start up to four months before a baby’s due date, according to his office.
“American families are facing greater financial strain, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and marriage and birth rates are at an all-time low,” said Romney in a statement calling existing policies outdated. “Now is the time to renew our commitment to families to help them meet the challenges they face as they take on most important work any of us will ever do—raising our society’s children. This proposal offers a path toward greater security for America’s families by consolidating the many complicated programs to create a monthly cash benefit for them, without adding to the deficit.”
Under Romney’s plan, the text of which has not yet been released, families with multiple children would receive multiple payments, but they would be prohibited from receiving more than $1,250 per month. Romney also said his plan would be deficit-neutral and reduce child poverty in the United States by one-third. The size of the benefits would begin to phase out at the $200,000 income level for single filers, and $400,000 for joint filers.
According to The Washington Post, Romney staffers and Biden administration officials discussed the plan on Thursday afternoon, after he announced it. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain responded: “Really looking forward to see what [Romney] will propose here — an encouraging sign that bipartisan action to reduce child poverty IS possible.”
— Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) February 4, 2021
Other Republicans have publicly expressed skepticism toward so-called “child allowances,” including Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT). The two Republican senators released a statement Thursday afternoon, after Romney’s statement went out, calling such payments the equivalent of “welfare assistance,” although they did not mention Romney by name.
“In the current pandemic relief bill under consideration, we would support increasing the Child Tax Credit to $3,500, and $4,500 for young children,” said Rubio and Lee. “However, we do not support turning the Child Tax Credit into what has been called a ‘child allowance,’ paid out as a universal basic income to all parents. That is not tax relief for working parents; it is welfare assistance.”
“An essential part of being pro-family is being pro-work. Congress should expand the Child Tax Credit without undercutting the responsibility of parents to work to provide for their families,” the duo added.
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