Sen. Mitt Romney (the Utah Republican) will submit a proposal to provide at least $3,000 per child to millions of American families, lending bipartisan support to President Biden’s push to dramatically extend child benefits. Romney proposed the Family Security Act, one of the most generous child-benefit packages ever, regardless of a political party. The plan completely remodels the current child tax credit (CTC) and changes it from a once-a-year bonus to massive income support, paid out monthly by the Social Security Administration.
Romney’s proposal would offer $4,200 per year for every child up to the age of 6, as well as $3,000 per year for every child age 6 to 17. The disclosure of Romney’s child benefits plan as Democrats make a similar effort could provide the White House an opportunity to incorporate policies with bipartisan support into its relief package.
Parents with several kids could get a maximum of $1,250 per month or $15,000 a year. Many families with three or four kids will get the full benefit. The Romney child allowance would reduce U.S. child poverty by roughly one third, and deep child poverty by half.
Unlike Democrats’ plan, Romney’s proposal would eradicate:
- Head-of-household filing status, which offers income tax breaks to some single parents and caregivers
- The child and dependent care tax credit, which offers tax breaks for parents paying for child care services so they can work
- The temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) welfare program, which replaced traditional “cash welfare” after the 1996 welfare reforms and is run as a state block grant
- The state and local tax deduction (SALT) in the income tax, which critics decry as regressive but also provides a subsidy for blue states with high income and property taxes
The Romney plan is comparatively better than the Biden plan in three ways. First, it offers more benefits. Second, it uses the Social Security Administration, which should increase participation, among other things. Third, it likely phases out at a higher income level than Biden’s plan does, which will make the program simpler to administer and more universal in its coverage.
It remains true that the Romney plan would be beneficial for poverty even if the federal support for TANF is eliminated (in the plan, state support, where the majority of TANF funding comes from, remains).