Sen. Mitt Romney's Family Security Act Competes With Democrats' Own Proposal
If Utah Sen. Mitt Romney’s Family Security Act passes Congress, it would streamline cash payments directly to families with children. The proposed program could help raise children from poverty giving millions of kids opportunities for success in school and life.
Early Childhood Alliance Director Kristen Schulz said the early years in a child's life are critical for future success. She said society is mistaken to only invest in public education once a child turns five.
"And before that, we just leave it up to the families to come up with whatever kind of childcare education and care that they can afford and find,” Schulz said. “I think having an administration that recognizes what a huge opportunity it is to invest early in these children's lives. We know that kids start school at different levels of readiness, and we know historically that there's a disproportionate impact on our low income, minority, and English language learner students. And our best opportunity frankly to close that gap and get all kids ready for school is to invest early."
Romney's proposal replaces the child tax credit with cash payments to families earning $200,000 single filings or $400,000 joint filing. If it becomes law, Schulz said it would benefit a lot of families in Utah.
"What Romney and Biden are both proposing, although different ways to pay for it and different amounts, is that you would actually get a monthly cash benefit for families, and the amount of the benefit is tied to the age of the child,” she said. “And you get a larger benefit for younger children. So, for example, in Romney's plan, you would get $350 per month for children up to age five. And $250 a month once they're in school. And, the Biden plan is slightly less. So in other words, it's not a tax credit that you get applied to your taxes at the end of the year. It's a monthly cash payment. So, on the Romney plan, it would be $350 a month which would be $4,200 a year for ages 0 to 5, and $250 per month for ages 6 through 17. So that would be a total of $3,000. You don't need to spend that money on childcare."
A Niskanen Center analysisindicates the impacts on child poverty would be substantial, reducing it by approximately one-third. The paper states deep poverty reductions would be cut in half.
The Romney plan would be paid for by replacing the existing federal tax credit for children and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The Democrat's plan would be similarly structured with slightly lower monthly cash payments. Democrats would likely oppose Romney's plan to eliminate the TANF.