With no new stimulus checks in sight and the final Expanded Child Tax Credit payment hitting bank accounts this past week, fears are continuing to grow that inaction by Congress will result in the return of more families living at or below the poverty line with no additional financial assistance and continually increasing prices due to inflation.

Most specifically, many Americans are fearful over the lack of new Child Tax Credit payments in 2022, after receiving payments monthly since July as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. A one-year extension of the credits was worked into his Build Back Better plan, with the intention of families receiving the money through 2022. However, the plan has been held up in the Senate—and there is a risk it won’t be passed before a hard deadline to ensure that families will smoothly continue receiving payments in the new year.

According to CBS News, the IRS has stated the bill needs to be passed by a firm deadline of Dec. 28 in order for the credits to continue smoothly into the New Year and allow payments to be processed for a Jan. 15 pay date. However, with holdouts keeping the bill from being passed—most notable Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), there is a dimming hope the money will be made available, and that has many concerned about what it will mean for lower-income families.

“No family in America should struggle to get by,” Gaylynn Burroughs, senior policy counsel at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights told CBS. “Without the CTC, these families—many of whom are families of color—will be forced back into a position of instability.”

A recent analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities warned that nearly 10 million children could slip back into poverty if the payments don’t continue, especially as lower-income households cope with higher inflation, which hit 6.8% in November and has seen sharp increases in food, energy and housing costs.

The concerns echo those that have also been raised over the hesitance to potentially roll out another round of blanket stimulus checks from the federal government, with many fearing the official end of all assistance programs set during the pandemic in 2022. Though the Pandemic is still ongoing, unemployment benefits have already ended, as have some protections against evictions. The Child Tax Credits will be the next thing to come to an end if the Build Back Better plan is not passed, and those who borrowed money for student loans will feel the impacts of resumed payments beginning Jan. 31.

Calls have also gone out to the Biden administration to once again extend the start date for resumed student loan payments over fears that many still cannot afford to pay them back, despite a forbearance on both payments and interest that went into effect at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. As of now, the administration is still going forward with the plans to restart the payments.

Representation. A COVID-19 stimulus check. Pixabay