Mitt Romney wants US to pay monthly child support to families, promote marriage

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Republican Sen. Mitt Romney proposed permanent monthly payments to American families Thursday as the country struggles with declining birth and marriage rates and the coronavirus pandemic’s stranglehold on the economy.

The Utah lawmaker and former GOP presidential nominee’s Family Security Act calls for $350 monthly payments per family, per child, for children age 5 and under. Children between the ages of 6 and 17 would warrant $250 payments instead.

“American families are facing greater financial strain, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and marriage and birth rates are at an all-time low,” Romney said in a statement. “On top of that, we have not comprehensively reformed our family support system in nearly three decades, and our changing economy has left millions of families behind.”

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Payments would be reduced by $50 per child for every $1,000 in income above the current Child Tax Credit thresholds – which stand at $200,000 for single-filers and $400,000 for married couples.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, arrives at the Senate for a roll call vote to confirm Antony Blinken, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be secretary of State, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“Now is the time to renew our commitment to families to help them meet the challenges they face as they take on the most important work any of us will ever do — raising our society’s children,” Romney said. “This proposal offers a path toward greater security for America’s families by consolidating the many complicated programs to create a monthly cash benefit for them, without adding to the deficit.”

Romney’s office estimated the proposal could cut child poverty by 33% and make marriage more appealing.

Although it would cost billions more than the current Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit programs, Romney’s plan would offset the increase by cutting billions in current exemptions, including on deductions for head-of-household status, child and dependent care credits, and the state and local tax deduction.

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Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project, a progressive think tank, rated Romney’s proposal as an improvement over President Biden’s own family spending plan – but behind his own. In particular, he took issue with Romney’s plan to eliminate the state and local tax deduction – a program popular among Americans who pay high state taxes.

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