Sen. Joe Manchin isn’t sharing any regrets about letting his party’s expansion of the Child Tax Credit lapse, even after a historic spike in youth poverty last year.
According to Census data released on Tuesday, the share of Americans under 18 living below the poverty line jumped from 5.2% in 2021 to 12.4% in 2022 as the Biden administration’s bulked-up credit expired, the biggest annual increase on record.
Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat whose opposition to extending the supersized credit was a decisive factor in its demise, seemed unfazed when asked if Tuesday’s poverty data left him with any second thoughts. “It’s deeper than that, we all have to do our part,” he told Semafor. “The federal government can’t run everything.”
A number of Democrats reacted with regret and indignation at the new numbers. Sen. John Fetterman, D-Penn., called it “a specific choice” in a statement. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., took aim at his moderate colleagues. “Unfortunately, we had zero Republican support and we lost two corporate Democrats in Manchin and [Kyrsten] Sinema” on the Child Tax Credit, he told Semafor. “And that’s why we are where we are today.”
The COVID-era, no-strings-attached program that provided checks to parents isn’t getting restored anytime soon. But Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., reiterated his call on Tuesday to extend a more modest version of the expansion through bipartisan tax talks.
In return for an expansion of the child credit, which would ensure lower-income parents receive more of its benefits, Democrats have said they would agree to restore longstanding corporate tax deductions for research and development that ended last year.
“Any end of year tax package must include expansions to the child tax credit,” he said in a statement. A White House official also told Semafor that Biden welcomes any bipartisan effort towards cutting child poverty.
Semafor reported late last year that negotiations faltered as Republicans dug in against extending any part of the credit. But there’s no signs of life so far towards a deal. “I’m not aware of any progress being made in that area,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas told Semafor.