The US is eyeing a $300 monthly child benefit

The US is considering introducing a monthly child benefit for the first time in what would be a seismic political shift for the country. Ireland has paid a monthly child benefit for many years.

Democrats are hoping to include the measure – which could pay up to $300 (€249.08) per month per child – as part of a larger coronavirus spending package.

President Joe Biden’s spokeswoman this week repeated that the current plans are focused on “emergency funding” rather than a more permanent shift.

But anti-poverty advocates, who have pushed for a monthly benefit for years, hope inserting such a programme temporarily will lay the groundwork for more lasting change.

Conservatives thinkers have also put forward their own proposals for a monthly child allowance, such as Senator Mitt Romney, who see the idea as a family-friendly policy – and a defence against America’s falling birth rate, which has hit a record low.

“If we don’t do more to help families … we’re just not going to have that many of them and I think, at least for social conservatives, that’s a cause for concern,” says Brad Wilcox, senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, pointing to rapid increases in child-related expenses like education.