May 08, 2020

Tammy Duckworth moves to assist newborn babies amid pandemic

Source: Politico


Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois is calling for a fix to be made to the CARES Act, the coronavirus stimulus package that was passed and signed into law last month, to provide immediate help to families with newborn babies.

The way the bill is written currently blocks families who had babies this calendar year out of getting the $500 child economic impact payments right now. Instead, they must wait until they file their income taxes in 2021 to take advantage of the benefit.

Duckworth, who was first alerted of this problem by constituents, says a tweak to the law should be made to allow these families access to that cash right now, especially at this time -- when so many are facing additional economic hardships.

"This is something that they are entitled to anyway, just don't make them wait 18 months for it," Duckworth told CNN in an interview Friday. "Families can't wait until 2021 for this money because folks need money to buy diapers, formula and all those things right now."

Duckworth introduced the new bill Friday to expedite those payments and is hoping that it will be attached to the next stimulus package that Congress is working on. The bill has Republican support. Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Mike Braun of Indiana have signed onto the bill as well as fellow Democrat, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

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"I think we have a good shot, since it is bipartisan," Duckworth said, adding that her biggest pitch to Republicans she's talked to like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is that it doesn't cost any additional money.

"These funds are already appropriated," she added. "So it doesn't require any more money to be put in the bill for it, it's just a language change in the statute."

Congress is currently negotiating the next phase of the stimulus relief, with the House of Representatives already working on drafting language.

By:  Marianne Levine