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$3,600 per child: Congress considers COVID-19 payments to families

Congress is considering a proposal to provide monthly payments to low and middle-income families as part of the COVID relief package.

SEATTLE — Congress is considering a proposal to pay families as much as $3,600 per child as part of the COVID-19 relief package.

Under the plan, called the American Family Act, parents would get $3,600 annually per child under the age of 6, and $3,000 annually per child ages 6 to 17.

“It would lift four million children out of poverty across the country, and cut child poverty in Washington State by 40%,” said Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Washington), one of the bill’s sponsors.

Individuals making less than $75,000 per year and couples making less than $150,000 per year would get the full benefits. Higher earners would get reduced payments.

RELATED: Democrats propose up to $3,600-per-child tax credit in COVID-19 relief plan

The IRS would distribute the dollars monthly and payments would start arriving in July.

The proposal, which DelBene said costs $117 billion, is tacked onto the roughly $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which lawmakers are still writing.

“This investment helps families get by, and every economist will tell you that it helps with a stronger recovery, too,” DelBene said about the family payments.

United Way of King County (UWKC) said low and middle-income families are among the groups hardest hit by the pandemic.

“It started with children not being in school, families losing jobs, families not knowing how they're going to pay for food or rent,” said Lauren McGowan, senior director of ending homelessness and poverty at UWKC. 

She said tax credits and payments to parents are powerful tools for fighting poverty.

“It really puts the purchasing power back in their hands,” McGowan said.

Senate Democrats and the White House expressed support for the family payments plan, NBC News reported.

Leaders in the House of Representatives said they hope to pass the full COVID-19 relief bill and send it to the Senate for consideration within the next two weeks.