About 39 million families across the U.S. — including 346,000 children in West Virginia — are receiving monthly child payments this week from the U.S. Department of Treasury as a part of the federal COVID-19 relief plan.
Families will get about $3,000 per child each month. The money comes from a temporary expansion of the child tax credit — part of President Biden’s COVID relief package enacted in March. The Child Tax Credit is one of the largest spending measures Congress has passed that goes directly to parents.
These payments could reduce child poverty by 43 percent in West Virginia, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy.
President Joe Biden and most Democrats in Washington are pushing to keep the child tax credit at these levels for four more years.
West Virginia’s congressional delegation is mixed on whether they would support this increased funding.
Republicans lawmakers Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, and U.S. Reps. Carol Miller and David McKinley, and Alex Mooney all say they are reluctant to extend the program. They offered similar statements, saying even though they support the increase to the child tax credit in general, they worry that larger spending packages that Democrats are proposing will hurt working families.
Mooney, Miller and McKinley also added that President Donald Trump’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act 2017 already increased the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child.
Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin is the only lawmaker from West Virginia who voted for Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which included additional increases for families. Manchin tweeted on July 14 that he is reserving judgement on the Democrats’ budget proposals until he’s had a chance to review their plan.
Prior to the pandemic, West Virginia had a budget of $ 48 million in federal funding to support child care, according to a spokesperson for the state Department of Health and Human Services. The state has received an additional $249 million in the past year from three COVID relief packages. Much of this funding has gone toward keeping child care centers open.