(Updates with Florida in 4th paragraph and Fetterman quote in 8th paragraph)
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Democratic leaders want voters in key states to know which party is responsible for the checks Americans with young children are set to start receiving on Thursday.
A new digital ad campaign targeted to key Senate and House midterm races touts the expanded monthly tax credit of up to $300 a child hitting Americans’ bank accounts as a middle-class tax cut delivered by President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats. The tax credit was included in the pandemic relief package (Public Law 117-2) that Congress passed on a party-line vote in March.
“We are making sure Americans know this contrast is clear,” Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison said in a statement. “While Republicans continue to play games and block efforts to improve the lives of working people, Democrats are delivering for you.”
The five-figure ad buy is jointly sponsored by the DNC and the party’s Senate and House campaign arms — the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It’s set to run in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which make up the core of the competitive Senate map and are likely to feature some top House contests.
Democrats say they’ll use the child tax credit as an argument for why voters should defeat GOP incumbents and re-elect Democratic senators, including Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Raphael Warnock(Ga.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), and Maggie Hassan (N.H.). The issue will also be emphasized in open-seat Senate races in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
The Senate is divided 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the deciding vote, meaning these races will be crucial to determining whether Democrats expand their razor-thin majority or lose it to Republicans.
“While Democrats are putting more money in the pockets of families with children, Republicans unanimously voted against this tax cut — and in 2022, voters will hold every GOP Senate candidate accountable,” DSCC Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said in the statement announcing the ad buy.
John Fetterman, a Democratic primary Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, praised the child tax credit payments but said they should be made permanent. “To me, it is a no-brainer that we need to make the expanded Child Tax Credit permanent and finally put an end to child poverty in this country,” Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, said in a statement.
Democrats also have a narrow House majority. Republicans believe they can capitalize on redistricting and historical trends that disfavor the party controlling the White House in midterm elections, but Democrats say they’ll fight to retain the majority by emphasizing such economic programs.
“Every single House Republican abandoned their neighbors when it mattered most by voting ‘NO’ on the American Rescue Plan,” DCCC Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
While Democrats emphasized that 90% of families with children will get an average tax cut of $4,380 under their plan and see this as a helpful issue politically, Republicans have opposed the provision making the child credit refundable, which allows it to go to parents even if they aren’t working and paying income taxes.
“Over the next six months, some American households with no working adults will receive over $6,000 in cash payments from the federal government,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a statement Wednesday, on the eve of the first payments. “The way President Biden tells it, the handout is part of his administration’s ‘pro-family’ plan. In reality, he has transformed the pro-worker, pro-family Child Tax Credit into an anti-work welfare check.”
Rubio is facing re-election next year and is being challenged by Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.). Also up for re-election is Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) in a race likely to be competitive.
The ads will appear through the native advertising platform Outbrain. Native advertising is material in an online publication that resembles the publication’s editorial content but is paid for by an advertiser.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kenneth P. Doyle in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org