Last year, Sen. Mitt Romney jolted the D.C. policy conversation with his proposed Family Security Act. For the first time, an elected Republican was proposing collapsing the tangle of low-income tax credits and child-related provisions in the tax code into a single, monthly child benefit.
At the time, it was a bridge too far for other elected Republicans. But a retooled design and a new co-sponsor suggests that Romney’s Family Security Act 2.0 may thread the needle between different factions on the right and become a much-needed signature policy for the GOP on its quest to become the “parents’ party.”
Romney’s newly revamped child benefit offers stability and predictability to parents, encouraging families to have at least one parent in the workforce while not penalizing those couples who have a parent stay home with the kids (about one-quarter of married couples). It offers a subtle yet real encouragement of marriage, and it would begin providing assistance to expectant mothers during pregnancy. In short, it is exactly the kind of support for families Republicans should embrace as they prepare for the potential end of Roe and adjust to a new, working-class-centric policy agenda.
Republicans have generally, though not uniformly, been in favor of the original child tax credit, which reduces federal income taxes owed with the number of children in a family. It was, of course, a Republican Congress that passed the first CTC in 1997, as well as one that doubled the size of the CTC to $2,000 in tax reduction per child as part of the 2017 Trump tax cuts.