Exactly 10 days before Christmas, the final monthly child tax credit payments have been issued for many families across the U.S. In March of this year, the American Rescue Plan was passed. This plan increased the existing child tax credit by $3,000 with a $600 bonus for kids under the age of six for the 2021 tax year. 

Additionally, the American Rescue Plan established monthly payments that began in July and went through December. Qualifying parents receive $300 for each child under the age of six, and $250 for those ages six to 17.

Data collected from the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey shows that middle-income families have been spending their payments on food, clothes, and school-related costs for their children.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates 9.9 million children could fall back into poverty or deeper into poverty if the credit payments are not extended. The estimation also shows poverty rates for Black, Latino, and American Indian or Alaska Native children will be the hardest hit. If the Senate fails to pass the Build Back Better bill, poverty rates would be 22 percent for Black children compared to 13 percent if it did, 21 percent for Latino children compared to 12 percent, and 18 percent for Alaska Native children compared to 10 percent.

What happens next with the monthly child tax credits?

The big question on many parents' minds: will the monthly child tax credit payments get extended? The answer to that lies with the Senate.

The House passed the Build Back Better Act last month—which includes a one-year extension to the monthly payments—but it's up to the Senate to pass the bill. The bill may need to be further amended to win the necessary votes.

Currently, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer doesn’t have the 50 votes needed to pass the legislation as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. remains a holdout.

The Senate was initially supposed to vote on the bill before the new year, but whether they will or not remains unclear. Sen. Schumer has yet to formally dismiss senators from Washington for the holiday, but NBC News reports that the vote could possibly be delayed as late as March.

That means that parents who are hoping for a child tax credit payment on January 15 shouldn't expect one. Should the bill eventually get passed with the tax credit extension in place, it's possible that families can receive late payments in 2022.

"It is possible that, if Congress does eventually pass the bill with the current advance payment provision still in it, the Jan. 15 payment could be made late once the IRS has the authority from Congress to issue the payment," Mark Luscombe, principal analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting, tells USA Today.