Mitch McConnell rips the Biden child tax credit as a 'monthly welfare deposit'

By Joseph Zeballos-Roig

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell assailed the expanded child tax credit payments on Tuesday, deriding the Democratic measure as welfare assistance.

"Their next reckless spending spree proposes to double down on Democrats' new monthly welfare deposits that can flow directly to people who are here illegally," he said in a floor speech on Tuesday, referring to the Democratic party-line safety net bill and apparently unauthorized immigrants.

Republicans have struggled to counterprogram against the child tax credit payments, HuffPost reported in July, since direct payments are broadly popular with the public. The beefed-up child tax credit payments were a key part of President Joe Biden's stimulus law which passed in March without any Republican votes. Most families earning under $150,000 annually qualify for up to $300 monthly payments per child, depending on their age.

Some GOP senators are starting to line up behind McConnell. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a close McConnell ally, told Insider that "it is" welfare, adding: "In particular, it doesn't discriminate between citizens and non-citizens."

"This is basically a check in the mail," Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told Insider in a brief interview, adding that he favored linking the assistance to payroll tax liability, so people continue working.

Others were more careful. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah unveiled a plan earlier this year to send monthly checks to families, a measure aimed at replacing the child tax credit, along with other safety net programs, so it didn't add to the deficit. Rubio and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah slammed Romney's proposal as "welfare" earlier this year.

"I can't comment on what [McConnell] said," Romney told Insider.

Democrats and Biden want to extend the child tax credit in their social spending bill, though the length of the renewal remains in flux. Senior Democrats strongly criticized a Biden suggestion for it to last one year.

Early research indicates the first month of payments in July kept 3 million children out of poverty and helped feed 2 million kids in July. A recent analysis from researchers at the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, Barnard College, and Bocconi University found "very small" impacts from the payments on employment.