In 2009, Obama signed a law that made the payments available to more low-income families - the poorest of the working poor. That provision, which has since been extended, is scheduled to expire at the end of 2017.
Democrats see these types of payments as an important tool to fight poverty - and as a way for low-income families to benefit from the tax code.
Some Republicans say these provisions are simply government expenditures disguised as tax breaks. "This is basically a benefit check handed out by the IRS," said Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas.
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The bill would require taxpayers claiming these payments to provide a Social Security number, making it harder for immigrants to claim them, whether they are in the country legally or not. Noting the recent flood of unaccompanied minors showing up at the southern border, House Republicans said the provision would reduce the incentive for people to enter the U.S. illegally.
The requirement would save the Treasury $24.5 billion over the next decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
In general, noncitizens must be authorized to work in the U.S. by the Department of Homeland Security in order to get a Social Security number. However, many immigrants can still file a tax return using a tax identification number provided by the IRS.
In 2010, 2.3 million filers used tax identification numbers to claim a total of $4.2 billion in payments under the child tax credit, according to a 2011 report by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.
"The last thing we need is to continue to encourage folks from Central America to make the dangerous and life-threatening trek to Texas," said Johnson, who sponsored the provision.
— By The Associated Press