One Of Democrats’ Proudest Policy Achievements Is Missing From The Midterms

by | Nov 3, 2022 | Politics

Last year Democrats boasted about a new monthly allowance they’d created for households with children. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “a life-changing victory for families” and described it as tantamount to “Social Security for children.” President Joe Biden made a similar comparison and said it was one of the things he would be “most proud of” when his term ends. AdvertisementBut the allowance lasted only six months, and the triumphant messages have been largely absent from the campaign trail ahead of next weeks’ midterm elections, in which Republicans stand a strong chance of winning one or both chambers of Congress. Democrats have instead mostly campaigned on protecting abortion rights, which are under threat after the Supreme Court declared an end to the federal right to abortion access over the summer, while Republicans have leaned on messages about crime, inflation and Biden. When it comes to economic policy, Democrats have been more likely to talk about the original Social Security ― the beloved retirement benefit for seniors ― than the monthly benefit parents received last year through the expanded child tax credit. Democratic campaign ads have highlighted the party’s support for reducing costs for the middle class, and any mention of “middle class tax cuts” could semi-plausibly be a reference to the child tax credit, since the monthly payments the IRS sent out last year technically were, in fact, tax credits. AdvertisementBut out of hundreds of campaign ads this cycle, few mention the child tax credit by name. According to a new analysis of campaign ads published Thursday by the Wesleyan Media Project, just 0.2% of federal campaign ads in the general election have mentioned the child tax credit.Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley hit his Democratic challenger, Mike Franken, for opposing the child tax credit because he favored repealing the 2017 Republican tax cuts, which expanded the credit before Democrats built on that expansion last year. Another ad, from a super PAC boosting Evan McMullin, the independent challenging incumbent Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), calls out Lee for having opposed the Democratic child tax credit last year. Neither of those got into any specifics about the child tax credit. From July through December, most parents in the U.S. received as much as $300 per child each month, a taste of the kind of child benefit that other developed countries have long provided. As a result of the payments, child poverty fell to nearly half its rate before the cash payments began. But reducing child poverty, apparently, does not make great campaign fodder. The payments were modestly popular, but much less so than empowering Medicare to negotiate cheaper prescription drugs ― another, more recent Democratic policy achievement that has been the centerpiece of plenty of campaign ads.AdvertisementAnd the payments stopped at the end of 2021 after Democrats couldn’t get Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to agree to an extension. They could argue that electing …

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