Tammy Duckworth moves to assist newborn babies amid pandemic
The Senate's newest mother wants parents of newborns to more quickly access money allocated to them by the CARES Act.
The Senate’s newest mom is making a push to assist parents of newborn babies amid the coronavirus as part of the next relief package.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) this week introduced a bipartisan proposal that would let parents of children born in 2020 access money allocated to them in March more quickly.
The CARES Act, which the Senate passed in March, provided an additional $500 to parents of children. But that’s based on tax returns for 2019 — preventing parents of children born this year from receiving the credit.
“If these kids did not exist in 2019, you can't currently apply under the CARES Act for the $500 for your dependents because as far as the IRS is concerned, those kids don't exist yet,” Duckworth said in an interview. “They don't exist until you file the paperwork with the IRS in 2021.”
The Illinois Democrat, whose name has been floated as a potential running mate for Vice President Joe Biden, said her proposal doesn’t affect the CARES package’s total cost. It’s just allowing new parents to claim their benefits sooner.
“A lot of families if you're dual income at least one person is probably out of work more or on reduced salary or on unemployment insurance,” Duckworth said. "People need this money for formula and for diapers and all of that right now. We just want people to be able to access their funds now and not have to wait another 12 months to get it.”
In April 2018, Duckworth gave birth to her second daughter, Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, becoming the first senator to give birth while in office.
Duckworth introduced her proposal with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and is working with Senate leadership to get it into the next relief package.
The House is expected soon to move forward on its own major relief package But that's expected to hit a snag in the Senate with Republicans so far calling for a pause on spending.