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Christian Leaders Call for Extension of Improved EITC and CTC Benefits

Washington, DC, August 1, 2012

Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, joined other national Christian leaders today in urging Congress to continue the current Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) benefit levels. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote soon on whether to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

"The food budget is usually the first thing families cut when times get tough, but tax credits like the EITC and CTC help struggling families put food on the table and make ends meet," said Rev. Beckmann. "It is morally unjust that lawmakers consider allowing tax credits that are vital to hungry families to expire, while wealthy people retain reduced rates for their income over $250,000, and estates as large as $10 million are exempt from taxation."

In a statement released at a Capitol Hill press conference, Rev. Beckmann joined nearly 60 prominent faith leaders in urging Congress to re-evaluate policy priorities that dismantle tax credits for low-income working families that prevent millions from falling deeper into poverty while maintaining massive tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent. Other leaders included Sr. Simone Campbell of NETWORK, Rev. Noel Castellanos of the Christian Community Development Association, and Rev. Jennifer Butler of Faith in Public Life.

In 2010, the EITC and child tax credit kept over 9 million people, including 4.9 million children, out of poverty. The 2009 improvements alone kept 1.6 million people out of poverty. The EITC and CTC rewards work and promote social mobility. Studies show that a majority of EITC recipients receive the credit for only one to two years before moving into higher income brackets.

"Almost all mainstream economists agree that the only way we can responsibly address our long-term deficits and debt is through increased tax revenues in addition to spending cuts," added Beckmann. "The fact that some in Congress are considering allowing tax credits for low-income families to expire is particularly disturbing given the long history of bipartisan support given to the EITC and CTC."

If passed, HR 8 would eliminate additional EITC marriage penalty relief, prevent families from earning even $1 of the CTC until they make at least $13,000, and reduce EITC benefits for families with three or more children. If families are no longer able to count earnings below $13,000 towards the child tax credit, 8.9 million families would be harmed, including 16.4 million children. If the CTC credits are allowed to expire, 3.7 million families would lose the Child Tax Credit entirely, including 5.8 million children.

"We should not be extending tax cuts for the wealthy while simultaneously eliminating tax credits that make up America's largest anti-poverty program, aside from Social Security," said Beckmann. "Congress must protect programs that help people lift themselves out of poverty—not balance the budget on the backs of people who were not responsible for our deficit and debt to begin with."

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Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

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Fito Moreno, Interim Media Relations Manager, 202-688-1138

 

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