It’s been more than a year since the last round of stimulus checks began arriving in bank accounts across the United States. And, in the absence of such a windfall, many households are struggling to make ends meet in the face of rising prices.
The fact that the Child Tax Credit has not been increased only serves to exacerbate the situation. The maximum value of the Child Tax Credit increased from $2,000 in 2020 to $3,600 in 2021 for children under the age of six and from $3,000 in 2020 to $3,000 in 2021 for children aged six to seventeen. Additionally, half of the credit was distributed in the form of monthly installments, allowing recipients to avoid having to wait for their funds.
The Biden administration hoped to extend the increased Child Tax Credit through 2022 and included legislation to that effect in the Build Back Better Act. Sadly, that legislation has since been blocked by Republicans in the Senate, leaving American families in the cold.
However, it is not the only spending bill that requires additional support. At the moment, the White House is urging Congress to pass a $22.5 billion spending bill in order to continue the fight against COVID-19. It is also possible that the government will not have enough funds to provide the public with vaccines, booster shots, and life-saving COVID-19 treatment if the bill does not move forward.
A Major Public Health Crisis Could Be on the Horizon
The fact that most Americans are not generally entitled to free healthcare is a frequently bemoaned fact. However, for COVID-19, an exception has been made from the beginning.
Since the outbreak’s inception, Americans have been eligible for free COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines, as well as other benefits. The government has even provided several free rounds of COVID-19 tests to be completed at home.
However, at this stage, further financing is required to continue the fight against COVID-19. It is also possible that the federal government will be unable to acquire enough booster doses, vaccinations, and COVID-19 antiviral tablets to fulfill demand if the bill does not go through.
In the wake of their failure to reach a deal with Republicans, House Democrats withdrew $15 billion in COVID-19 money from a bigger spending measure earlier this week. Republicans have called on Congress to offset increased COVID-related expenditure by cutting subsidies for state and local governments, a request that Democrats have rejected.
More Resources Are Required
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed its COVID-related guidelines in an effort to assist Americans in returning to their pre-pandemic lives. It’s possible that the CDC will be forced to reverse its guidelines if a lack of funding makes it impossible for the government to contain the outbreak. This, in turn, might have a significant economic impact — and it may not be a positive one.
In fact, if the government does not receive the funding it requires to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, a slew of terrible consequences could follow as a result. It is possible that free testing and treatment will no longer be available. It is possible that boosters and vaccines will need to be purchased out of pocket. And this might have a particularly negative impact on the uninsured.
The White House is also seeking funding to support the development of a broad vaccine that will target a variety of COVID-19 variants and will aid in the expansion of vaccination coverage in underserved countries. It is possible that this will limit the extent to which new variants emerge. If the necessary funding does not materialize, the pandemic could continue for years to come.
It is understandable that Americans are battling for a financial lifeline in these difficult economic times, but acquiring the resources necessary to combat the COVID-19 epidemic should be a higher priority for legislators than anything else. Legislators may be able to refocus their efforts on trying to keep the increased Child Tax Credit alive if funds are in place to continue to offer testing, boosters, immunizations, and treatments.
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