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Reform Jewish Movement Supports Extending the Child Tax Credit to Low-Income Working Families

Pelavin: The House of Representatives must act immediately to extend the child tax credit acceleration to families who work hard each day and yet struggle to put food on their tables and roofs above their heads.


Contact:
Alexis Rice or Rachel Wainer 202-387-2800

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2003 - In a letter today, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, urged the House to oppose the H.R. 1308, the ironically titled Tax Relief, Simplification, and Equity Act of 2003, which includes a variety of tax cuts completely non-related to the child tax credit that would drastically increase the national deficit, and instead to pass the Relief for Working Families Tax Act of 2003, which has already passed the Senate.

The complete letter follows:

Dear Representatives:

On behalf of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, the public policy body of North America's largest organized Jewish community, I urge you to vote "no" on H.R. 1308, the ironically titled Tax Relief, Simplification, and Equity Act of 2003. I also urge you to vote "no" on the Rule for H.R. 1308, which would prevent Representatives Castle and Tanner from offering their bill to extend the refundability of the child tax credit, H.R. 2392, as a substitute on the floor.

As you know, the tax cut legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President last month left out 12 million children. Although the bill increased the child tax credit from $600 to $1000 it did not increase the refundability of the tax credit for families earning $10,500 to $26,625, effectively denying help to just those families who need it most.

With the Relief for Working Families Tax Act of 2003, the Senate voted 94-2 to extend the refundability of the tax credit and provide relief to millions of families struggling to make ends meet. The President has indicated his support for the Senate-passed bill and his desire to sign it as quickly as possible. However, rather than voting on this important legislation and providing relief to millions of American children, the House leadership intends to bring to the floor a bill that will effectively kill the effort to help working families and children.

The $82 billion cost of H.R. 1308, which includes a variety of tax cuts completely non-related to the child tax credit, is not offset and would drastically increase the national deficit, which the CBO recently projected will be over $400 billion this year. The drain of federal resources will increase pressure to cut federal programs that low-income families depend on and will therefore likely harm the children that the bill purports to help. By insisting on bringing this package of tax cuts to the floor instead of voting on Representatives Castle and Tanner's bill, which has no net cost and is completely offset, the House leadership is effectively ensuring that 12 million children will not receive the help they deserve.

Jewish tradition, and that of all faith groups, is clear about our communal responsibility to provide for the poor. The tax cut bill passed by Congress last month directly violates this responsibility by leaving out those Americans who need help most. The House of Representatives must act immediately to extend the child tax credit acceleration to families who work hard each day and yet struggle to put food on their tables and roofs above their heads. Representative Thomas's tax cut bill would likely harm those families it claims to help.

Please oppose the Rule on H.R. 1308 and oppose H.R. 1308 if it comes to the floor.

Sincerely,
/s/
Mark J. Pelavin
Associate Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) , whose over 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1800 Reform rabbis .



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