New Tax Package, With Child Credit Included, on Deck in House

Posted June 6, 2003 at 12:50pm

Emboldened by the Senate’s push to provide more tax relief to low-income families, House Democrats railed against their Republican counterparts’ reluctance to take up the bill Friday.

But Republicans say they are willing to consider the legislation next week — as part of a larger tax package.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the House GOP the “main obstacle” to enactment of a bill that would benefit families making between $10,500 and $26,625. A similar provision was dropped from the final version of the recently enacted $350 billion tax package.

“We refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer,” Pelosi said, adding later that Democrats would make the issue “too hot” for the Republicans too handle.

So far, Republicans are not taking the bait.

“First, the Democrats worked furiously against any tax relief for anybody,” Speaker Dennis Hastert’s (R-Ill.) press secretary, John Feehery, wrote in a rebuttal. “Now after arguing that the tax cut was too big, they are arguing that it is too small.”

Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) has said he is not inclined to bring up the bill on its own, but rather would like the Ways and Means Committee to consider working it into a wider-ranging tax package.

A House leadership aide said the issue will be addressed next week but as part of a bigger package.

That is exactly what Democrats do not want.

“If [House Republicans] would act morally, they would bring it up as a free-standing bill,” Rep. Robert Matsui (D-Calif.) said.

Feehery almost taunts Democrats to continue raising Cain over the politically charged issue.

“If Democrats believe that the tax cut signed by the President was too small, by golly, we should make it bigger,” he wrote. “Maybe if we keep cutting taxes, we might get to the original number sought by the President and House Republicans.”

Democrats have been arguing that low-income families will not benefit from the latest round of tax cuts as much as wealthier families because the child tax credit will not be extended to them in the form of a rebate check.

House Republicans have denied the claim.

“Most of those folks who didn’t get direct tax relief don’t pay any federal income taxes,” Feehery wrote. “In fact, most qualify for the earned income tax credit, which takes care of most of the FICA taxes that they pay.”