WASHINGTON — Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, has proposed a stimulus package that he says is aimed at modernizing and streamlining a number of "antiquated" federal policies to create a monthly cash benefit for American families with children.
Romney released his proposal as Democratic lawmakers prepare to move forward with the American Rescue Plan without Republican support — a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that would offer assistance to most American families amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many lawmakers are hoping Democrats and President Joe Biden will work with Republicans to come to a compromise on pandemic relief and not go it alone.
"The Family Security Act would provide a monthly cash benefit for families, amounting to $350 a month for each young child, and $250 a month for each school-aged child," a summary of the proposal reads. "If enacted, low-income families would no longer have to choose between a bigger paycheck or eligibility for support. This plan would immediately lift nearly three million children out of poverty, while providing a bridge to the middle class – without adding a dime to the federal deficit."
The proposal calls for the elimination of the federal government's head-of-household status, child and dependent care credits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and State and Local Tax deductions (SALT) to pay for the monthly benefits.
"The bill consolidates overlapping and often duplicative federal policies into direct support for families. In order to remain deficit-neutral and provide certainty for families, it also eliminates the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT), which is an inefficient tax break to upper-income taxpayers. However, most families that previously claimed the SALT deduction will still be net beneficiaries through their larger monthly child benefits," the summary says.
According to the summary, the proposal would lift nearly 3 million children out of poverty, "while providing a bridge to the middle class," without adding to the federal deficit.
"The impact of this plan can be seen by examining the impact on a married couple with two children, ages four and nine, making $38,990 (150% of the federal poverty line). The couple currently receives an end-of-year lump sum tax return of $7,041. Under the Family Security Act, their annual benefit would increase by $2,318, and they would receive over 75% of their total amount through predictable monthly installments," an example provided by Romney's office says.
This story was originally published by David Wells on KSTU in Salt Lake City.