“Joe Biden knows the pain families feel when tomorrow seems so uncertain,” says the ad. “It’s why he signed a historic middle-class tax cut.”
There’s only one problem: that so-called “historic middle-class tax cut” expired last December, after Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) refused to support Biden’s Build Back Better legislation.
The expanded child tax credit provided most American parents — nearly 90 percent — with payments of $250 or $300 per month per kid. The White House has specifically characterized the child tax credit as “a historic tax cut for middle-class families.” The program’s expiration left millions more Americans in poverty. Child poverty quickly spiked.
The Unite the Country ad offers a depressing preview of what Democrats’ message will look like in the midterm elections this year. Because Democratic lawmakers failed to pass the health care, climate, and anti-poverty spending legislation they debated for much of last year, they don’t have many legislative accomplishments to sell to voters.
As a result, Unite the Country is now stuck touting an expired program, hoping voters will reward Democrats for a tax credit that is no longer helping their families. An advisor to the super PAC did not respond to a request for comment.
The lack of policy deliverables is evident in other Democratic groups’ messaging, too. AB PAC, a super PAC founded by Democratic operative David Brock, is currently running TV ads in Arizona saying that “Joe Biden got handed a bag of garbage” and is “doing the best he can with the tools that he has.”
According to a recent analysis by the polling outfit Data for Progress, Democrats are unlikely to see any political benefit from the temporary expansion of the child tax credit. While the organization initially found a slight approval bump for Biden among child tax credit recipients, “now-former CTC recipients approve of Biden at the same (or perhaps even lower) rate as similarly situated non-recipients,” the research group wrote last week.
Adding to the Democrats’ likely midterm woes is the expiration of another federal relief program they have touted as a selling point: the health insurance subsidies included in the party’s American Rescue Plan, which the Biden administration previously described as “a historic tax cut to reduce Americans’ health care costs.”
Those subsidies are set to expire at the end of the year, meaning that millions of Americans on individual health insurance plans will receive notices about increased premiums in October — right before the November elections.