House social spending bill would open child tax credit

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House social spending bill would open child tax credit

House Democrats’ sweeping $1.75 trillion social spending bill would remove the requirement that child tax credit claimants have a valid Social Security number — potentially opening the way for illegal immigrants and their children to receive billions in benefits. 

The provision on page 1,647 of the 2,135-page Build Back Better Act — which Democratic leaders are hoping to put to a House vote this week — would repeal 26 US Code § 24 paragraph 7, which details the Social Security number requirement to obtain child tax credits. 

“No credit shall be allowed under this section to a taxpayer with respect to any qualifying child unless the taxpayer includes the Social Security number of such child on the return of tax for the taxable year,” the current code reads

By repealing this requirement, the bill would expand child tax credits to parents of children who don’t have Social Security numbers — including many illegal immigrants.

Steven Camarota, a researcher with the Center for Immigration Studies, told Fox News that striking the requirement could cost taxpayers $2.3 billion in child tax credit payouts to illegal immigrants — and $8.2 billion in credits to illegal immigrants with children born in the US. 

Child tax credit written on a paper.
By repealing the Social Security number requirement, the bill would expand child tax credits to illegal immigrants.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Illegal immigrants are able to receive benefits on behalf of their US-born children,” Camarota said. “But the permanent elimination of the SSN requirement means that even illegal immigrants whose children are also illegally in the country can receive cash payments, including the roughly 600,000 unaccompanied minors and persons in family units stopped at the border in FY2021 and released.”

“In addition to dropping the Social Security number requirement, receipt of payments for illegal immigrants is made all the easier because reconciliation also eliminates the work requirement for next year,” Camarota added. “In the past, some illegal immigrants who worked off the books sometimes had trouble demonstrating employment income, but now that won’t be a problem.”

Earlier this year, the Biden administration increased the child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,000 per child over the age of 6 and up to $3,600 for children under the age of 6 through the American Rescue Plan. It also raised the age limit for qualifying children from 16 to 17. If families make up to $150,000 (in the case of a couple) or $112,500 (in the case of a single parent), they can receive full credit. 

A box labeled Enrolled Bill is wheeled out of the Office of Speaker of the House.
Democratic leaders are hoping to put the social spending bill to a House vote this week.
Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Build Back Better Act is looking to extend the increased payments to 2022. 

The sweeping social legislation has been hotly debated among progressives and moderates in the Democratic Party for months. Most recently, some moderate House Democrats have expressed wariness about committing to voting for the bill until the Congressional Budget Office releases its review of what the bill will actually cost. 

In order to pass a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill earlier this month, moderate Democrats agreed to vote for Build Back Better in its current form as long as they receive the full CBO report first. 

The CBO has warned that the full report may take some time. Since last week, they have released initial reports on eight parts of the bill, projecting so far that the legislation increases the deficit by more than $150 billion.

Despite the holdup on the full report, House Democratic leaders are still looking to vote on and pass the package this week. 

“Yes, we intend — that is our plan to pass the bill the week of Nov. 15, as is indicated in our statements that were made at the time of passing the infrastructure bill, and we’re very proud of that,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during a press conference at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Scotland last week.

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