What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : America's Poor : H.R. 1308. Child Tax Credit and Tax Breaks for Soldiers/Vote to Instruct House Conferees to Extend the Child Tax Credit to Low Income Families As Quickly As Possible and Prevent the Inclusion of Additional Tax Breaks for Wealthy Individuals During Conference Committee Negotiations with the Senate. (2003 house Roll Call 572)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
H.R. 1308. Child Tax Credit and Tax Breaks for Soldiers/Vote to Instruct House Conferees to Extend the Child Tax Credit to Low Income Families As Quickly As Possible and Prevent the Inclusion of Additional Tax Breaks for Wealthy Individuals During Conference Committee Negotiations with the Senate.
house Roll Call 572     Oct 28, 2003
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Progressive Result
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The $350 billion tax cut package enacted earlier in the congressional session included a provision to increase the child tax credit-which was, in essence, a tax cut for families with children-from $600 to $1000. The final version of the tax legislation, however, did not extend the child tax credit increase to low-income families; only middle and high income households would have benefited from the proposed increase in the child tax credit. In response, House and Senate Democrats rallied around the child tax credit issue, attempted to grind the legislative process to a halt, and otherwise tried to make life miserable for Republican leaders. (In addition to this vote, thirteen other attempts were made by Democrats to force action on the child tax credit issue. See also House votes 396, 398, 446, 447, 449, 477, 493, 501, 509, 525, 529, 541, and 614). After several weeks of debate, Republicans leaders proposed legislation to extend the child tax credit to low-income households. Also included in the child tax credit extension were additional tax breaks for both military families and high-income individuals. The legislation passed both the House and Senate, albeit in different forms, and a conference committee was convened to iron out differences between the two forms of the child tax credit bills. On this vote, Representative Woolsey (D-CA) motioned to instruct House conferees to insist on the Senate's language during conference committee negotiations. Unlike the House bill, the Senate's version would extend the child tax credit increase to low-income families immediately upon enactment. Additionally, Woolsey's motion to instruct would have prevented House conferees from including additional tax breaks for high-income earners in the conference report (a conference report is the final version of a bill). Progressives supported the motion to instruct because, in their view, allowing low-income families to benefit from the child tax credit increase as quickly as possible was an important step toward providing financial assistance to the poorest individuals in society. Progressives also opposed the additional tax breaks for wealthy individuals which were included in the House bill and favored Woolsey's effort to prevent the inclusion of those tax breaks from the conference report. Conservatives opposed the motion to instruct because, in their view, the child tax credit should not be extended to low-income families because those families, by virtue of their modest incomes, do not pay income taxes. In the words of Representative Lewis (R-KY), "one has to pay income taxes to get tax credits." Conservatives also pointed out that the federal government already provides what they characterized as ample assistance to low-income individuals in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal tax credit which reduces the amount of federal taxes owed by low-income individuals. And, if the value of the EITC is greater than the amount of federal taxes owed, then the individual will receive a refund check from the IRS for the difference-a difference which Conservatives argued can amount to hundreds of dollars in federal assistance. All Democrats present voted unanimously in favor of the motion to instruct but the motion was defeated on a party-line vote of 197-208.

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