NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Part of the COVID-19 relief package being considered by the House of Representatives includes a huge financial boost for families with children.
If the bill passes and is signed into law by President Joe Biden, parents would get as much as $3,600 per child per year. Specifically, it's $3,600 for children aged 6 and under, $3,000 for children aged between 7 and 18. Unlike previous tax credits, the credits would be distributed in monthly checks. Single parents making more than $75,000 and couples making more than $150,000 would not be eligible.
Similar to a stimulus check, the money can be spent on anything.
"Some of them may still be behind on their rental payments and things like that. A lot of people are still in potential foreclosure, so this will give them some money to at least move money around, if nothing else, to pay for things," said Pat Nolan, a political analyst with Scripps station WTVF in Nashville.
The program was designed for parents like Briana Proudfoot. She's a single mom who works in the hospitality business in Nashville. The pandemic has slowed down her work shifts, and when she does get on the schedule, Proudfoot struggles to find and afford a babysitter.
"Child care has been our biggest issue since moving here, actually. Finding reliable babysitters that don’t charge more than I make," Proudfoot said. "To be able to find or pay for a babysitter that would be reliable would change the game for us."
Proudfoot says if the relief bill is passed, she would be able to afford a more expensive and reliable sitter.
"I’ve had to call out of multiple shifts. I’ve had babysitters cancel last minute," she said.
Nolan says the way the bill is structured, the child tax credits are set to expire this time next year, but he wouldn't be surprised if the monthly stipends become the new normal.
"I think it’s going to be very hard for Congress to say , 'No you can’t do that anymore,'" Nolan said.
Democrats in Congress point to studies that argue that child tax credits could cut child poverty rates up to 45% overall and up to 50% in African-American communities.
Many Republicans in Congress are calling the provisions a massive increase to the U.S. welfare system and argue it could potentially be a disincentive for people looking for new jobs.
The House of Representatives is expected to pass the COVID-19 relief bill on Wednesday with the child tax credits included, and Biden has indicated he will sign it.
This story was originally published by Chris Davis on WTVF in Nashville.