Democrats ran on providing more support to the economy given the coronavirus and explicitly on boosting the $600 stimulus payment to $2,000. Currently, they are crafting this package, although there is considerable uncertainty on whether it will pass and the final shape of the bill.
However, one interesting development is that the bill includes an expansion of the child tax credit which would result in direct, monthly payments to households with children. It also signifies that Democrats are embracing direct payments rather than more convoluted programs or tax credits which felt less tangible to people. Many believe that President Donald Trump and Republicans outperformed during the 2020 elections due to the efficacy of these payments during the coronavirus which seems to have kept the economy from totally collapsing.
One difference with this proposal is that it would send monthly payments rather than a one-time payment. This is especially material as it has a better chance of becoming a permanent feature rather than a temporary one. It also fits with Biden's campaign and long-term focus on reducing child poverty.
Specifically, the plan calls for a monthly check of $300 per child younger than age 6 for a total of $3,600 per year. That amount would be lowered to $250 for children ages 6 to 17, or $3,000 per year. Families with higher incomes would not be part of the plan although no details about the threshold have been revealed.
Currently, parents get a child tax credit of up to $2,000 per child under the age of 17, when filing their federal income taxes. According to Columbia University, the plan could cut child poverty in the U.S. by more than half.
It's interesting how Republicans would react to that plan. So far, they have been opposed to more stimulus, but some Republicans have been in favor of expanding the child tax credit, while many were in favor of $2,000 stimulus checks rather than $600.
End the Filibuster?
Of course, these proposals could trigger the next major fight over the filibuster. As currently constructed, there would need to be 60 votes to pass such a large package. However, it seems unlikely that Democrats would be able to get 10 votes. Thus, they might have to vote to end the filibuster just like Republicans did for judicial nominations.
If Democrats choose to not end the filibuster or pass a watered-down bill, then it's likely that they would pay a price in the 2022 and 2024 elections. Just like Republicans would have paid a price by failing to get a Supreme Court justice appointed due to the filibuster.