WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney has proposed a reimagining of federal policy geared toward working families, providing them with a regular monthly cash benefit of $250-$350 per child.

“The Family Security Act 2.0 creates a new national commitment to working American families by modernizing and simplifying antiquated federal policies into a monthly cash benefit,” reads a statement Wednesday from Romney’s office. “This plan is fully paid for by consolidating existing federal spending.”

The benefit, $350 per child up to age 5 and $250 a month for each child age 6-17, would largely replace lump-sum payments working families get in the form of annual tax refunds via the Child and Earned-Income tax credits. Families could claim the benefit for up to six children and get it monthly or in one annual payment.

Romney and fellow GOP senators Richard Burr of North Carolina and Steve Daines of Montana are pushing the initiative, an update of a prior proposal from the Utah senator, the Family Security Act. He characterized the overhaul as a bid to better support working families, “the bedrock of our country.”

He envisions working with lawmakers in the months to come to fine-tune the proposal. “It’s no coincidence that fewer and fewer people are getting married and having children. We must do better to help families meet the challenges they face as they take on the most important work any of us will ever do — raising our society’s children,” Romney said in a statement.

Guidelines and restrictions would apply:

* A family would have to earn at least $10,000 the prior year, initially, to get the full benefit.

* Parents could also get the benefit for an unborn child four months prior to the due date.

* The benefit would be administered through the Social Security Administration.

* The benefit for each child would be reduced for families with higher income levels.

The three senators characterized the measure as a way of promoting the family unit and consolidating federal policies and initiatives geared to families.

“As the modern economy seems to discount the merits of raising children, federal family policy remains scattered across the tax code and dozens of different programs,” reads Wednesday’s statement. It said U.S. marriage rates “have fallen to all-time lows and birth rates have dropped 20% since 2007.”
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