The lame duck Congress is taking up several budgetary issues including child and business tax credits as it faces a Dec. 16 deadline to keep the government funded before the new members are sworn in and a new Republican House majority takes the reigns.
"What's happened is Democrats have said, 'Hey, we like the business changes that you guys want to make, but we're not going to go along with them unless you agree to do something about the child tax credit and the earned income credit," Howard Gleckman, an analyst with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, said in an interview with The Hill.
According to the report, Democrats are focusing on expanding the child tax credit and others to help low-income families while Republicans want to see former President Donald Trump's 2017 tax cuts continued to help businesses.
"We shouldn't extend corporate tax breaks without an extension of the Child Tax Credit [CTC]," Colorado's Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet said in a statement Monday to The Hill. "I believe we can get to a responsible, common-sense agreement to expand the Child Tax Credit this year, and my priority is for any expansion to cover as many of the 19 million children who are left out of the current credit as possible in a meaningful way."
Both sides need to hammer something out prior to the Dec. 16 deadline to keep the government funded whether that is a one-year deal for 2023, or a shorter continuing resolution that would punt the issues to the incoming Congress.
While continuing resolutions are common, according to the U.S. General Accountability Office [GAO], it does come "at a cost."
"Continuing resolutions are temporary spending bills that allow federal government operations to continue when final appropriations have not been approved by Congress and the president," the agency said on its website. "Without final appropriations or a continuing resolution, there could be a lapse in funding that results in a government shutdown."
That cost, according to the agency, comes from the staff using time and resources to plan for potential government shutdowns when the prior continuing resolution is set to expire, and another is not in place at the time.
It can also result in making some approved funding inaccessible to agencies until a new resolution is passed, according to the GAO.
In addition to help for children and businesses, Congress is also grappling with a retirement bill that raises the age richer Social Security retirees would reach before being taxed on their savings.
"There's certainly a lot of interest in the Democratic caucus" on tax issues, particularly the CTC, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., told The Hill. "But I think that's tied into other types of tax changes that may be coupled with it. The pension bill does not offer leverage on any of these issues. It's just a bill that's supported broadly by both parties, so there's no leverage in holding that bill up."
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