WASHINGTON — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney wants to transform America’s policy towards families with children, and his proposal has become a centerpiece in a national conversation that might accomplish it.
Romney’s Family Security Act proposes to use the Social Security Administration to send monthly checks to every household with a child 17 or younger, paid for by doing away with the federal child tax credit, deductions for state income tax, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Anchoring the other side of the conversation, President Joe Biden and the House Ways and Means Committee have proposed a plan for similar monthly payments, but without Romney’s cuts.
The Biden plan is included in a massive COVID-19 relief package and it would be temporary, though Biden has expressed the intention to extend it before it expires.
Utah’s other senator, Mike Lee, issued a statement with fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, saying the plans are “…not tax relief for working parents; it is welfare assistance.”
That is not a consensus among conservatives. The Niskanen Center, a right-leaning think tank, supports Romney’s plan.
“This is a family program that has anti-poverty benefits,” said Sam Hammond, Director of Poverty and Welfare Policy at Niskanen.
Hammond says Romney changes the welfare calculation by providing a benefit that isn’t contingent on remaining poor, because Romney’s proposal only phases out at high incomes established by current child tax credit legislation: $200,000 per individual parent and $400,000 for two-earner households.