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Letter to the House on the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 4935)

July 22, 2014

Dear Representative: 

On behalf of the 3 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), and the students they serve, we urge you to VOTE NO on the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014 (H.R. 4935), which is scheduled for a vote Wednesday. The Child Tax Credit (CTC) helps working families offset the cost of raising children.  This bill is just the opposite of what’s needed:  it would provide new permanent tax cuts to many affluent families who have incomes too high to qualify for the credit under current law, while letting the CTC disappear altogether for many of the nation’s poorest working families after 2017, thereby casting millions of children deeper into poverty. Votes associated with this bill may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress. 

The CTC, which now provides up to $1,000 per eligible child, was enacted in 1997 and expanded in 2001.  Recognizing the particular challenges that child-rearing costs create for working-poor families — many of whom were ineligible for the credit before 2009 because their incomes weren’t high enough to qualify — Congress made more working-poor families eligible that year by beginning to phase it in as a family’s earnings increased above $3,000.  This critical improvement, along with important enhancements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), was recently extended through 2017. 

We believe priority should now be making this improvement permanent.  Yet H.R. 4935 not only fails to address this need, but extends the CTC farther up the income scale, providing a new tax cut to more affluent families even as the credit would end for millions of the working poor.  The bill also would index the credit for inflation.  

New language added to the bill this week would deny the CTC to millions of poor children by requiring that a parent file taxes with a Social Security number (SSN), thus preventing immigrants who file with an IRS-issued Individual Tax Identification Number from claiming the refundable CTC (ACTC).  According to the National Immigration Law Center, this provision could harm up to 5.5 million children, and 80 percent of the families impacted would be Latino.  

Allowing the improvements to the CTC and the EITC to expire would mean that millions of children could fall deeper into poverty.  We urge you to VOTE NO on H.R. 4935, to ensure that the Child Tax Credit is protected and able to help working families and children most in need. 

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations