(WOMENSENEWS)–Many struggling families will not be receiving the increased child credit in the tax bill that President George W. Bush signed this week due to a last-minute revision by House and Senate leaders, reports The New York Times.
Most taxpaying parents will receive a $400-a-child check in the mail this summer as a result of the law, which raises the child tax credit to $1,000 from $600. It had been clear from the beginning that the wealthiest families would not receive the credit that is intended to phase out at high incomes.
But after studying the bill approved on Friday, liberal and child advocacy groups discovered that a different group of families would also be excluded–those making just above the minimum wage. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in Washington, D.C., said that most families with incomes from $10,500 to $26,625 will not benefit. The organization indicated that the parents of 11.9 million children, or one of every six children under 17, will not receive the $400 check.
The checks will bypass many female-headed households. The median income of those households, according to the Census Bureau, is $25,794. The median income of two-parent families is $59,184.
The provision was dropped in the House-Senate conference, where tax writers spent days trying to cram in many cuts, including cuts in the taxes on stock dividends and capital gains. An important swing vote in the Senate, George V. Voinovich, a zealous anti-choice Republican from Ohio, said he could not approve any bill that exceeded $350 billion. To satisfy him and the Senate, the child-credit provision was dropped, along with other items.
“I don’t know why they would cut that out of the bill,” Senator Blanche Lincoln was quoted as saying. The Arkansas Democrat had persuaded the full Senate to send the credit to many more low-income families before the provision was dropped in conference. “These are the people who need it the most and who will spend it the most. These are the people who buy the blue jeans and the detergent and who will stimulate the economy with their spending.”
Another excluded group will be families with incomes lower than $10,500, because they do not pay federal taxes. Proposals to give them the credits failed on the Republican-dominated House and Senate floors on party-line votes.