The $1.9 trillion stimulus measure would increase the child tax credit

Photo (c) designer491 - Getty Images

A separate measure would send families at least $3,000 per child

Congressional Democrats are hammering out the details of a key element of their proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. The measure would significantly increase the Child Tax Credit and change the way it is distributed.

Language in the stimulus measure instructs Congress to create a $25 billion emergency fund and spend $15 billion on an existing grant program to help child care providers.

Specifically, it would expand the child care tax credit for one year so that families would get back as much as half of their spending on child care for children under age 13. Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, says the measure under consideration would give families at least $3,000 per child.

"The pandemic is driving families deeper and deeper into poverty, and it's devastating,” Neal told CNN. “We are making the Child Tax Credit more generous, more accessible, and by paying it out monthly, this money is going to be the difference in a roof over someone's head or food on their table." 

What families would get

According to CNN, which obtained a copy of the proposed bill, the measure would pay families $3,600 per child under the age of six and $3,000 per child aged 6 through 17. The current Child Tax Credit pays $2,000 per child.

The benefit would last for a year and be limited to single parents earning up to $75,000 a year and for couples earning up to $150,000. 

The payments could be made on a monthly basis so that families could make it part of their household budgets. Typically, tax credits are distributed as part of income tax refunds. If passed by Congress, Neal said payments would begin in July.

Congress has yet to pass the $1.9 trillion aid package, but Democrats say they have the votes to do so. In the Senate, where no Republicans have signaled support, Democrats plan to use budget reconciliation to pass the measure with a simple majority.

Could your debt be reduced or forgiven? Take our financial relief quiz.