WASHINGTON – Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) denounced House Republican leaders’ efforts to block child tax credit relief for middle- and lower-income families, including military families.
“This is one of the most cynical and hypocritical moves I have ever seen. Tom DeLay already has told the world that he does not want a child credit for poor families but now, having heard the anger of the American people, the House Republicans are claiming they do. Then, they come up with a parliamentary scheme to kill the bill,” said Rep. Rangel, the top Democrat on the Committee on Ways and Means.
When asked whether the House Republicans would allow lower income families and military families to get the child credits the bipartisan Senate bill allows, the Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said “It ain’t going to happen.” Earlier this week, Rep. Delay said “There's a lot of other things that are more important than that.”
“The House Republicans have the audacity to claim they are helping poor children while they block a fully off-set Senate bill and replace it with a bill that denies immediate relief for these families and increases the deficit we give to our children $82 billion. And to add insult to injury, they intentionally left out the children of thousands of soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The Thomas amendment denies low- to moderate-income working families the same immediate payment of their family credit that was provided to all other families in the recently-enacted tax bill. Those moderate-income working families will have to wait until next year to receive their benefits rather than get them immediately like everyone else.
The Thomas amendment also denies the child tax credit to many recent veterans who would have been covered under the Senate bill. Many enlisted men and women make far less than $26,000 per year. As a result, their children will not be eligible for the increased family credit.
Furthermore, the children of men and women who earned combat pay during recent service in Iraq or Afghanistan would get less of child tax credit under the House amendment. This is because the House Republicans left out the provision that would prevent combat veterans from being penalized when calculating the child tax credit.
For example, under current law, a sergeant (E-5 or E-6) with six years of service and two children earns $29,000 per year. Under the Senate bill, if he did not serve in combat, both of his children would be entitled to the full $1,000 tax credit. However, if he goes into combat for 6 months, his credit would drop to approximately $450 due to the House Republican amendment.
Altogether, the Children’s Defense Fund estimates that one million children from of active military or veterans’ families will lose the child credit because of changes made in the Thomas Amendment.
“When it comes to tax relief, the Republicans have their priorities backward. They pass hundreds of billions in tax breaks for people who have lots of ‘unearned income’ such as capital gains and dividends but they penalize those who work hard for a living and, worse yet, those who have put their lives on the line for the country,” Rep. Rangel said.
“The Republicans actually think that the child of a combat veteran should receive a smaller child tax credit than the child of a member of Congress because the member pays more income tax. Their tax cut plans put the wealthy first and punish those who sacrifice the most for their families and their country,” Rep. Rangel said.