Democrats failed to extend the child tax credit but urged Americans to file their taxes

WASHINGTON ― Democrats have failed to extend the monthly child tax credit payments that most American parents received last year, but they have some useful advice for parents missing that extra cash: File your taxes.

More than 36 million households received as much as $300 per child each month from July through December. The monthly payments have ended, but households that were eligible for the maximum benefit stand to receive lump-sum checks for the first six months of 2021 in the form of a tax refund.

Democrats called a press conference Tuesday to publicize the coming refunds.

“This being tax season, I want to just put in a pitch this year so that families will make sure that they get the second half of the child tax credit payment,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).

The bigger tax refunds will likely alleviate some of the hardship parents have faced since losing the monthly payments.

Since Democrats boosted the maximum value of the child tax credit to $3,600 in 2021 for kids under 6 ($3,000 for kids age 6 to 17), and the IRS only made monthly payments for half of the year, eligible parents can get refunds worth as much as $1,800 per child under 6 and $1,500 per child age 6 to 17.

Democrats had said they would continue the child tax credit payments as part of the Build Back Better Act, but the bill stalled last year after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he wouldn’t support it.

The senators who spoke out on Tuesday said they still hoped to strike some kind of deal with Manchin, such as by reducing the number of higher-income households that qualify. (The 2021 benefit only began to phase out at households with incomes above $150,000.)

Manchin said he’s “not part of any organized discussions” about the credit.

Democrats said they want the child tax credit as the centerpiece of a major social policy bill that includes child care and green energy subsidies. It’s unclear how Democrats will resolve their disagreement.