The act consists of nine parts that seek to empower parents in raising and caring for healthy, happy children, irrespective of their socioeconomic status or location.
Apart from the expansion of the child tax credit, the legislation also addresses maternal healthcare access and the prevention of stillbirths.
A significant feature of the Providing for Life Act is its provision to extend the refundable child tax credit to $3,500 for children under the age of 18, and up to $4,500 for children under the age of 6.
Additionally, the act proposes to include unborn babies in the tax credit, recognizing the financial challenges that expectant families may face during pregnancy.
Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) is spearheading the Providing for Life Act (pdf) in the House, which is an aggressive effort to reform the federal government’s family care system, her office said in a news release.
Hinson introduced the legislation as “a comprehensive pro-family package that shows value for life at all stages and supports families of all backgrounds,” the release said.
“The Providing for Life Act charts the policy course for a culture of life in America,” Hinson said. “By expanding the Child Tax Credit to include the unborn and provide additional relief to working families, empowering women to care for their babies and families regardless of socioeconomic status or zip code, and expanding access to community resources, we can protect the most vulnerable, make a meaningful difference for those in need, and strengthen all families.”
The legislation covers tax breaks for working families, with credits expanding up to $4,500, support for new parents, as well as additional provisions for the unborn. According to Hinson’s press release, the legislation is set up to build “community support for mothers and new families.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) offered his support for the legislation from the upper chamber of Congress, saying in a statement that “supporting pregnant mothers and their unborn children is essential, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because America’s continued strength depends on the next generation.
“This comprehensive legislation will provide real assistance for American parents and children in need,” he said. “We need policies like these to show America that conservatives are pro-life across the board.”
The act also focuses on supporting new parents by enhancing paid parental leave and offering greater flexibility to parents in managing their work-life balance. It expands the eligibility for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program to postpartum women, providing them with crucial assistance during the post-delivery period, as is reflected in the bill’s language.
On the Democrat side of the aisle, legislators in the House have pushed a bill to restore the COVID-19-era tax breaks for families. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and several others and would both restore and expand the child tax credit.
Previously, under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, eligible taxpayers received monthly compensation of up to $300 per child to provide families with financial and economic relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Families that qualified for the payments but did not receive them in advance were eligible to claim the complete credit on their 2021 tax return during the 2022 tax filing season (pdf).
This year, the tax credit, however, returned to 2019 levels, so filers who qualified for a credit of $3,600 per dependent in 2021 received a $2,000 credit in 2022, based on their income, for each qualifying child age 17 or younger.