Republican lawmakers propose expanding Child Tax Credit to include expectant mothers

Expectant mothers may soon find the financial burdens of having a child lightened as Republicans are proposing a tax credit help alleviate the costs of pregnancy.

Following the doubling of the child tax credit in the GOP tax bill thanks to Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida, new Republican legislation introduced by Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina is seeking to double even that number, the Washington Examiner reported.

Image: Screen grab Reps. Mark Meadows and Luke Messer

“Expanding this tax credit will provide more resources to expectant mothers and help with the growing costs of having a child,” Messer said in a statement. “I was raised by a single mom who worked full-time at a factory. This kind of credit would have made a big difference for us, and it will make a big difference for many other Hoosier families.”

In 2017 the average birth cost $3,500, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the Examiner reported. Parents could combine claiming the existing child tax credit and the proposed expectant mother credit which, if passed, would be retroactive, resulting in a $4,000 credit that would more than cover the cost of delivery.

“It’s simple: expectant mothers and fathers deserve the same financial assistance and tax credit benefits to begin planning for a new child as parents blessed with children already born,” Meadows said in a statement. “The work, care, and costs associated with motherhood begin long before a child is born, and this legislation gives moms and their families an opportunity for a better start.”

According to the Washington Examiner:

This comes at a moment when the United States is experiencing what economist Lyman Stone describes as “the great baby bust.” Forecasts place fertility in 2017 somewhere around 1.77, or about one-quarter of a child below the replacement rate. According to Stone’s analysis, it’s the third most rapid fertility decline behind the drop that came after World War I.


“I am worried about fertility in 2017. I am very concerned about fertility in 2018. I am scared of what fertility numbers will be in 2019, especially if a recession hits somewhere in that period,” Stone wrote. “Our fertility decline is on par with serious, durable fertility declines in other big, developed countries, and may be extremely difficult to reverse.”

Perhaps  along with the Republicans fighting to limit abortions, the financial aid for expectant mothers will help ultimately boost the U.S. fertility rate.


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