WASHINGTON, D.C. [2/4/21]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and U.S. Representative Angie Craig (D-MN 2) are urging Congressional leaders to include all dependents in economic payment proposals, which would make nearly 15 million dependents eligible to receive economic impact payments and go a long way in helping families weather the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

In their letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 12), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 23) and Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Smith and Rep. Craig called on the leaders to expand the definition of dependents to include children younger than 19, college students below the age of 24, disabled adults and qualified relatives.

“We are encouraged that our proposals closely align with President Biden’s proposal for additional stimulus payment in his American Rescue Plan. As you know, prior rounds of economic impact payments have limited economic impact payments to children age 16 and below, rather than to all dependents,” wrote Sen. Smith and Rep. Craig. “This has left nearly 15 million dependents unable to receive economic impact payments. To resolve this striking inequity, we urge you to include all dependents in economic payments proposals, rather than retaining the flawed structure of past stimulus payments that has excluded so many Americans who are struggling to get by.”  

The lawmakers closed with: “Expanding the dependent definition will be helpful to people with disabilities and their families and would ensure that both qualifying children and qualifying relatives (as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code) will receive the payments. This broader definition would ensure that people with disabilities who do not reside with their families, but are claimed as dependents, would be eligible for the credit as well.  As Minnesotans continue to face an unprecedented health and economic crisis due to COVID-19, we are committed to helping all of our constituents get the assistance they deserve and look forward to working with you on this matter moving forward.”

The CASH Act and the Heroes Act passed by the House last year provided for an expanded definition of dependent, but former Majority Leader Mitch McConnell failed to take action on these relief proposals, leaving millions of families hurting. The legislative language in those bills closely mirrored proposals Sen. Smith and Rep. Craig authored, and the lawmakers are planning to soon reintroduce bicameral legislation.

 

You can access text of the letter below: 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, Republican Leader McCarthy, and Republican Leader McConnell, 

We write imploring you to broaden the definition of a qualifying dependent for purposes of additional stimulus assistance through whatever legislative mechanism is necessary to ensure this long-overdue relief becomes law. 

While the CASH Act and the Heroes Acts passed by the House provided for an expanded definition of dependent, former Majority Leader Mitch McConnell failed to take action on these relief proposals, leaving millions of families hurting. The legislative language in these bills closely mirrored proposals we previously authored (S.3652/H.R.6420) and are planning to reintroduce shortly.

We are encouraged that our proposals closely align with President Biden’s proposal for additional stimulus payment in his American Rescue Plan. As you know, prior rounds of economic impact payments have limited economic impact payments to children age 16 and below, rather than to all dependents.  This has left nearly 15 million dependents unable to receive economic impact payments.  To resolve this striking inequity, we urge you to include all dependents in economic payments proposals, rather than retaining the flawed structure of past stimulus payments that has excluded so many Americans who are struggling to get by.    

Expanding the dependent definition will be helpful to people with disabilities and their families and would ensure that both qualifying children and qualifying relatives (as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code) will receive the payments. This broader definition would ensure that people with disabilities who do not reside with their families, but are claimed as dependents, would be eligible for the credit as well.  

As Minnesotans continue to face an unprecedented health and economic crisis due to COVID-19, we are committed to helping all of our constituents get the assistance they deserve and look forward to working with you on this matter moving forward.  

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

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