Top House Democrat open to lower income caps for child tax credit to win over Manchin

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) addresses reporters to discuss Covid-19 on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. He also took questions regarding Build Back Better and other legislative issues.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) addresses reporters to discuss Covid-19 on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. He also took questions regarding Build Back Better and other legislative issues.


House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) expressed openness to lowering the income limits for families to access the expanded child tax credit if it helps win Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) support for the party's sweeping climate and social spending bill.

Clyburn said in an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday that he thinks Democrats still have wiggle room with getting Manchin on board with a party-backed expansion to the child tax credit after its recent lapse.

The No. 3 House Democrat said Manchin has made it "very clear" that he has concerns about the structure of the expansion, but Clyburn said he doesn't think the West Virginia senator is entirely opposed to the credit.

"He wanted to see it means-tested. I'm not opposed to that," Clyburn said, adding he would like to see Manchin "come forward with a bill for the child tax credit that's means-tested."

"I think it would pass. He'd get it through the Senate. I think we could get it through the House," Clyburn continued, adding he thinks "there's a lot in Build Back Better that he says he's for - so, let's do that."

Democrats have been working for months to make changes to and scale down the party's Build Back Better Act, in large part to try to get support from Manchin, a key centrist holdout.

Democrats hope to pass the bill, a legislative priority for President Biden, using a complex procedure known as budget reconciliation that would allow them to greenlight the package in an evenly split Senate with a simple majority.

But, with Republicans uniformly opposed to the bill, Senate Democrats would need total support from their caucus to pass the measure, giving Manchin significant influence over the shaping of the legislation.

In an interview on Thursday morning, Manchin signaled that he is still open to participate in negotiations around the spending plan and the expanded child tax credit, but added he thinks "means testing" will ensure it is targeted to those most in need.

"Everyone thinks the child tax credit has gone away. The child tax credit's still there, the $2,000 child tax credit is still there, and we're going to make sure that we can help, continue to help those in need," Manchin told West Virginia MetroNews's Hoppy Kercheval.

"I want to target West Virginians basically to make $75,000 or less should be the highest priority we have. They have it up to $200,000 for an individual and $400,000 for families. That's a lot of money," he added, after expressing concerns about inflation earlier in the interview.

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