Kari Lake calls for bigger child tax credit, warning of ‘unsustainable’ US birth rate


EXCLUSIVEKari Lake, who is running for Senate in Arizona, said she would seek to expand the child tax credit, arguing that increasing the popular subsidy could help fix the falling birth rate.

The Washington Examiner spoke to Lake, a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, on Wednesday while she was in transit to the southern border. The 54-year-old former TV news anchor and 2022 gubernatorial candidate said she wants bigger federal benefits for those who choose to have children.

“Right now, we have unsustainable U.S. birth rates, and that is going to destabilize our future growth,” Lake said. “We’ve got to bring our birth rates up, and I think that we need to incentivize and make it easier for people to have families.”

The U.S. total fertility rate was sitting at an average of 2.1 births per woman in 2007, but has fallen to 1.7 births per woman in 2021, according to the latest data. The replacement rate is 2.1.

Lake evoked European countries and said the “turmoil” is an example of “what happens when you don’t have babies of your own, and you have a wholesale import of a new population.”

Lake said that she doesn’t have a specific degree of increase in mind for child tax credit, but said it needs to be closely examined and expanded to a level where it is effective at incentivizing family growth and raising the birth rate.

“Our birth rate is declining at such a rapid rate that we’re going to be in big trouble,” she said.

The child tax credit, which has been revised by Congress multiple times in recent years, currently stands at $2,000 for minors. That is the level it was set at by the 2017 Republican tax overhaul.

The child tax credit was temporarily increased as part of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief legislation. The law raised it to $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for older children, with perhaps the biggest change being the removal of an income threshold for those who receive the funds. Thus, a family with no income or head of household working would also receive the full $3,600 or $3,000 payments. The boosted tax credit sunset at the end of 2021.

Republicans largely opposed the temporary pandemic-era expansion because of the lack of work requirements.

More generally, Republicans are divided on family benefits. Some favor lowering tax rates rather than increasing credits. Others, such as Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, have backed much larger benefits for parents.

Lake is the expected Republican nominee for Senate in the state. She is set to face Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) in what is billed as tossup election, one which could decide control of the Senate. Gallego also supports a bigger child tax credit.

Experts debate how big government subsidies need to be in order to raise the birth rate. For instance, Hungary has massive benefits for motherhood, including upfront loans of $36,000 that get written off if parents have at least three children, but it is unclear just how well the policies have worked.

Lake warned that it is crucial for Republicans to gain control of the Senate and White House because “if we don’t win, we will watch the biggest tax increase foisted upon” Americans and small businesses. Lake argued that the 2017 tax cuts resulted in higher federal revenue by turbocharging economic expansion.

“Lower taxes increase economic growth,” Lake said. She also tied better economic conditions to the birth rate.


“When President Trump gets back in and bring back brings back that roaring Trump economy, I think we’ll quickly see people wanting to be able to start families get married,” Lake said.

The Arizona Republican primary is on July 30.

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