Busy Week for Activists Working to Support Low-Income Working Families in the U.S.

December 3, 2010
by Meredith Dodson, Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns

This Saturday morning, as we all hurry about on wintry holiday errands, the Senate is following the House’s lead in voting on legislation that will extend tax cuts for low-income working families and middle class taxpayers at approximately 10:30 am. While the bill is not expected to get the 60 votes needed to become law, the stronger of a showing the legislation has, the more likely that the final tax bill passed during the Lame Duck session will focus on continuing the expansions of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit and the middle class tax cuts, rather than tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent (who, it should be noted, will continue to get a tax cut on their first $200,000 in earnings). Since the Senate is in session, the Capitol Switchboard, (202) 224-3121, and Senate offices should be “open” tonight and tomorrow, so keep up those calls and e-mails, and ask friends and families with moderate senators to do the same.

To recap, on December 2, the House passed the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010 by a vote of 234-188. This bill extended the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers on their first $200,000 of income ($250,000 for married couples). Because of the hard work of RESULTS activists and many others, the bill includes a permanent extension of the $3,000 income eligibility threshold for the Child Tax Credit and the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for married couples enacted in 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These expansions have helped millions of low-income working Americans make ends meet. This vote was right after the House passed the 264-157. This bill will invest $4.5 billion in new money over the next ten years to improve access, administration, and resources for child nutrition programs. This is a good step forward in helping hungry kids get the healthy snacks and meals they need for their development. SInce the bill has already passed the Senate, it now goes to the President for signature. (We continue to push to restore cuts to future Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps) benefits, used to pay for part of the bil. The President and Democratic leaders have pledged to remedy this and we must hold their feet to the fire.)

Unfortunately, the tax fight is not over. The bill now goes to the Senate where it faces fierce opposition by Republicans who want all the Bush tax cuts for incomes over $200,000 extended. The Senate is voting on similar legislation on Saturday, December 4. We must urge senators to follow the House’s lead by passing a permanent extension of the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC.

TAKE ACTION: Follow up with your letters, phone calls and lobby meetings and push until you get confirmation that your representative or senator has weighed in directly with those negotiating tax legislation. Stress the importance of these tax credits for low-income working families. If you cannot talk to your representatives and senators in person, call their tax aides in Washington, DC, to talk about the importance of these credits. In addition, you can use our campaign summary page if you want to read up on what’s been happening on all of our domestic campaigns.

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