Levin Floor Statement on GOP Cuts to Child Tax Credit

Jul 25, 2014

Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today made the following floor statement in opposition to H.R. 4935, a GOP bill that would slash the Child Tax Credit:

Yesterday on the topic of poverty, Congressman Ryan spoke. Today, he and his House Republican colleagues will vote.

Action speaks louder than words. And at every turn over the last three years, the actions House Republicans have taken have cut programs for low-and middle-income families.

Funding for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program – slashed in the Ryan-Republican budget.

Social Services Block Grants – eliminated.

Food assistance, Pell Grants, job training and housing assistance – all dramatically scaled back.

And of course, an extension of unemployment insurance and a raise in the minimum wage – both blocked by House Republicans.

Ben Franklin said: “Well done is better than well said.”

Today it is even truer that well said cannot obscure what is harmfully done.

The new Republican rhetoric on poverty is no match for the deeply troubling actions they have repeatedly taken, and continue to take with this legislation today.

This bill leads to harm for millions of low- and middle-income families and their children.

It completely ignores the need to extend the 2017 expiration of the expanded refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit, which if allowed to occur would push 12 million people, including six million children, into poverty or deeper into poverty, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Republicans may say that such an extension could be done later, as they claimed in our discussion at the Rules Committee. But that talk about future action is made incredulous when Republicans this week add another $187 billion to the deficit, bringing the total they have passed in unpaid-for tax cuts to more than $700 billion.

This comes after Republicans have slashed non-defense domestic discretionary spending to its lowest level on record as a percentage of GDP.

In contrast, this bill expands and makes permanent the availability of the Child Tax Credit to many new, upper middle-income families whose incomes are too high to qualify under current law.

Under this legislation, a married couple making $160,000 with two children would get an additional $2,200 in their 2018 tax refund, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. A single mother of two making $14,500 would see her refund cut by $1,750.

It gets worse. Republicans this week inserted a provision into this legislation requiring recipients of the Child Tax Credit to provide their Social Security number – a change that could lead to the loss of the Child Tax Credit for the families of five million children, four million of whom are U.S. citizens.

In all, 400,000 veteran and armed forces families will lose all or part of their credit.

There’s a reason that United States Conference of Catholic Bishops opposes this requirement – because it is a deeply flawed proposal that would leave millions of families with children behind.

Ben Franklin said: “Well done is better than well said.”

Today it is even truer that well said cannot obscure what is harmfully done.

###