Here’s a short article in the Boston Globe:
More families with higher incomes could claim the popular child tax credit under a bill that won approval Friday in the House. But in a dispute that divides Republicans and Democrats, millions of the poorest low-income families would still lose the credit in 2018, when enhancements championed by President Obama expire.
The bill would gradually boost the amount of the $1,000-per-child tax credit by tying it to inflation, so it would go up as consumer prices rise.
House Republicans say the bill would strengthen the tax credit by increasing it as inflation rises, and by making it available to even more middle-income families.
The White House said the bill favors high-income taxpayers over the poor, while adding $90 billion to the budget deficit over the next decade.
Thus, the current design of the CTC creates a marriage penalty. For instance, imagine a couple where each person makes $60,000. Separately, they would both be eligible to collect the full credit. But combined, their income ($120,000) would exceed the current phase-out threshold for couples filing jointly. Therefore, the couple could maximize their after-tax income by living together, but not marrying. In other words, the credit is an economic disincentive to marriage.
The House-passed legislation would eliminate this marriage penalty by extending the phase out threshold for couples to $150,000 and indexing it to inflation. These changes would allow a couple to collect the same CTC no matter if they filed separately or jointly. The bill would also index the current maximum credit to inflation and require applicants to provide their Social Security numbers. It would cost $115 billion over the next ten years.
If the House legislation became law, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that a couple making $160,000 a year would receive a new tax cut of $2,200. On the other hand, the expiring provisions of the CTC would cause a single mother with two kids making $14,500 to lose her full CTC, worth $1,725. The CBPP projects that 12 million people, including six million children, would either fall into poverty or fall deeper into poverty if Congress does not extend those 2009 changes. Taken together, these changes would be extremely regressive.
I’m sure you’re surprised that Republicans want to help the rich and don’t mind hurting the poor.