“From when these guys won in Georgia, that was our main reason for being,” Booker told CNN in an interview.

It’s one of the many priorities Democrats are looking to include in their economy package, but their wishlist – which includes free pre-k for all ages 3 and 4, paid family leave, two years of free community college, expansion of Medicare benefits, provisions targeting climate change and more – comes up against the reality that not all Democrats agree with the current price.

Democrats initially set their sights on $ 3.5 trillion in revenue, but some Senate moderates, including West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, have said they would not support such a high number. Democrats need the 50 senators on board to pass the legislation. As Democrats work to find a figure that is acceptable to all members, maneuvers have begun to see what can stay and what can go.

It’s a reality President Joe Biden acknowledged in a recent White House meeting with a group of senators including Booker.

“It was clear that maybe… if there are 15 big things in there, maybe we’ll have to settle for 10,” Booker said. “He was very real about the compromises that might have to be made.”

Created by Democrats’ $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief program in March, the enhanced credit offers families up to $ 3,600 per year for each child up to age 6 and $ 3,000 for each. 6 to 17 years old. Parents receive half of the credit in monthly installments of up to $ 300 for each young child and $ 250 for each older child, between July and December. They will receive the other half when they file their taxes in the spring.

Fully Boosted Credit is available for heads of households earning up to $ 112,500 per year and joint filers earning up to $ 150,000, after which it begins to fade away. For many families, the credit then tops out at $ 2,000 per child and begins to wane for single parents earning over $ 200,000 or for married couples with incomes over $ 400,000.

More low-income parents are eligible for the child tax credit because the relief made it fully refundable. It had only been partially repayable – leaving more than 26 million children unable to get full credit because their families’ incomes were too low, according to Treasury Department estimates.

The changes are expected to lift millions of children out of poverty and reduce the child poverty rate by more than 40% by 2021, experts say.

The expansion is estimated at around $ 110 billion for the year. The House Ways and Means measure would cost about $ 556 billion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

“There is nothing bigger than this”

Extending changes to the child tax credit is on the priority list Democrats are considering slashing from their economic package, as they strive to hit a spending count that all Senate Democrats will support, according to two Congressional Democratic sources familiar with the talks.

Booker said he was frustrated having to advocate his case to members of his own party.

“There’s nothing bigger than that. I’m a guy who fights for a lot of issues. And I believe in paid family leave… I want it all. But if you just want to look at the impact of a child’s life is the most important thing we do, ”he said.

“To me that’s moral obscenity. Do we love our children or not? And love is not sentimentality. Love says we’ll be there for you,” Booker added.

It is a sentiment shared by Warnock who also expressed frustration that there is even a possibility that the extension of the child tax credit improvements will not be included in the final package.

“I think it’s comparable to the course in Washington, because the kids don’t have lobbyists,” he said.

“I’m going to fight for this,” Warnock told CNN. “This is a tax cut for working families. This will help 97% of families with children. I know firsthand the big difference it will make.

Booker said his top priority was to make the child tax credit fully refundable on a permanent basis, which tackles poverty by allowing the poorest Americans to benefit from the full amount even if they don’t. no income. He also wants to extend the subsidized payments and continue the new practice of issuing the loan in monthly installments sent directly to families until 2025.

Citing Biden’s support for the issue, Booker estimated that the child tax credit provisions would be included in the Democrats’ final bill at “better than 50%, I think that’s more likely than unlikely”.

Biden initially proposed extending the improved monthly child tax credit payments until 2025 and making its full refund permanent in his $ 1.8 trillion U.S. Plan for Families and the House Ways and Means Committee. has included these provisions in its House legislation. Booker, Warnock, Brown and Bennet have all publicly expressed their support for these provisions in the Senate version of the bill.

Negotiations within the party

But not all Senate Democrats are on the same wavelength when it comes to whether and how they will keep the child tax credit provisions in the final economic package. Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, said a work requirement may have to be added in order to receive the extended tax credit payments, an idea with which supporters of the credit strongly disagree, arguing that data shows that credit can actually increase single mothers. “Labor force participation.

“I’m talking to him,” Booker said of Manchin. “I don’t know where he is right now. There’s a lot of stuff coming to Joe’s and a lot of issues, from environmental issues to other things, so I don’t know.”

Manchin told CNN’s Dana Bash State of the Union on September 12 that he supported the child tax credit, but pitched the idea of ​​testing resources and capping income levels that determine who receives benefits at a lower number than the current ceiling.

“There is no requirement for work. There is no requirement for education for better skills. Don’t you think, if we want to help children, that people should make an effort?” said Manchin.

Gradual uprising marks existential moment for Democrats

“Let’s make sure we get it to the right people,” Manchin explained. “I can tell you, working people and the working poor are doing all they can to get ahead in life, it’s in that $ 50,000 and under. I have people earning $ 200 (thousand) and $ 300 together. $ (thousand) and over, up to $ 400 (thousand), saying they get checks. “

Like Manchin, other members of the caucus have also expressed concerns about who will receive the payments.

Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine who speaks with Democrats, told CNN he thinks the child tax credit is “very important”, that he has “reservations about income levels and to whom it was going “.

The Republicans’ tax cut law of 2017 raised the credit eligibility thresholds to $ 200,000 for single parents and $ 400,000 for married couples filing jointly, before being phased out. These changes are expected to expire by the end of 2025. Prior to that, the elimination thresholds were $ 75,000 for single filers and $ 110,000 for couples.

Booker, he’s ready to negotiate the number of progressive withdrawals.

“I can understand people like people wanting to rule it a bit. I’m open to that,” he said.

Senator Jon Tester, a moderate Democrat from Montana, said he thought they “should try to negotiate to see if we can keep it.”

But Tester also made it clear that at the end of the day, Democrats “need enough votes to get this damn thing through.”

“If it’s big enough, leave it, if it’s not,” Tester said.

For those who advocate its inclusion in the bill, there is nothing more important.

“It’s one of the best investments you can make in America right now. So to say it’s about giving things, no. It’s a nation that says we’re going to invest in ourselves- same, in our infrastructure, in education, but we want to invest in our children, ”Booker said.

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