Hearing on Various Welfare and Tax Credit Programs
(Remarks as Prepared)
Chairmen Tiberi and Davis, thank you for holding today's hearing.
President Ronald Reagan once said, "the Earned Income Tax Credit is the
best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to
come out of Congress.” The EITC is truly a bipartisan idea. It was
signed into law by President Gerald Ford - and then expanded by every
President since Ford, both Democrat and Republican.
And there's a reason for that - President Reagan was right - the EITC is
extremely successful at increasing work and lowering welfare receipt,
making our tax rules more fair for low- and moderate-income families,
and most importantly, reducing poverty. In 2010, the EITC lifted about
6.3 million Americans out of poverty, including about 3.3 million
children. Without the EITC, the number of children living in poverty
would have been one-quarter higher.
Is the EITC perfect? Of course not, there's no provision in our Tax Code
that's perfect. And I'm open to working with my Republican colleagues to
strengthen the credit.
However, I get nervous by recent comments I've heard from my Republican
colleagues that seem to imply that we should increase taxes on low- and
moderate-income families. For example, Majority Leader Cantor recently
stated, "we also know that over 45 percent of the people in this country
don't pay income taxes at all, and we have to question whether that's
Leader Cantor and I clearly have very different definitions of the word
"fair." Republicans are calling for increasing taxes on poor and
moderate-income Americans, at the same time they're calling for lowering
taxes on the wealthy. Is that fair? The Republicans tell us that we
can't increase taxes on the wealthy because of the negative impact on
jobs - but ironically they think increasing taxes on poor people will
encourage them to work.
The Republican party has clearly come a long way from the days when
President Reagan proudly proclaimed at the signing ceremony for the Tax
Reform Act of 1986 that, "millions of the working poor will be dropped
from the tax rolls altogether" and the wealthy will "pay their fair
Before I conclude, I'd like to highlight that I'm working on legislation
that would extend for one year the recent enhancements to the EITC and
child tax credit that would otherwise expire at the end of the year. I
invite my Republican friends to join me in this effort.