House majority leader: Monthly child tax credit payments not a 'step' to universal basic income

Biden and Democratic congressional leaders have touted the automatic child tax credit payments as a way to reduce poverty and boost the economy.
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Hoyer on Sept. 27
Leader Hoyer on Sept. 27, 2021
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says the new automatic monthly child tax credit payments are not a step toward a universal basic income.

"I think the answer is no in terms of [whether that is] a move towards a permanent or significant income floor payment," the Maryland Democrat said.

"I don't think this indicates a step towards that inevitably being a policy. It is a step towards making sure that children and their families have sufficient resources to bring up children that are healthy, and well-adjusted, etc. and become very good citizens." 

Some progressives have called for the U.S. government to enact some form of a universal basic income. Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang made UBI a center piece of his campaign in 2020, promising to offer every American $1,000 per month regardless of income.

Biden and Democratic congressional leaders have touted the advance child tax credit payments as a way to reduce poverty and boost the economy.

Biden and the Democrats expanded the child tax credit in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and required the IRS to send the tax credit to qualified families in the form of automatic monthly payments for the first time. Under the legislation, families without income qualify for the first time for tax credits per child listed on their tax returns.

According to the IRS, "advance payments are sent automatically to eligible people. You do not need to take any action if we have your tax information."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has referred to the advance tax credits as economic stimulus payments.