Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Untangling the House Tax Proposals: Part 2

by Amelia Kegan

Child-tax-credits2On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted on two competing tax proposals: H.R. 8 and H.R. 15. News accounts reported that H.R. 15 would extend tax cuts for those earning up to $250,000, and H.R. 8 would extend tax cuts for everyone. But that is not the whole story. The previous blog post explained how H.R. 8 continue tax cuts for everyone except low-income working families. Now let's look at the other bill.

H.R. 15 Extends Tax Cuts to Everyone

Contrary to some claims, H.R. 15 doesn’t just extend tax cuts for those earning under $250,000; it extends tax cuts for everyone. If you make more than $250,000, you still get to keep your tax cut on that first $250,000. You’ll have to pay a higher rate on the income earned over $250,000, but you still get that tax cut on the first $250,000—just like everyone else.

Tax cuts on people’s second $250,000 and third $250,000 add up. The amount of money that is not collected because of tax cuts on income above a quarter million dollars comes to $830 billion over ten years. What does $830 billion look like?  If you spent $1 million every day from the day that Jesus was born, you would not have spent $830 billion. 

$830 billion is over 550 billion meals under the SNAP program.

H.R. 15 also extends the low-income tax credits that H.R. 8 lets lapse. So it really does extend tax cuts for everyone, even low-income families.


Neither H.R. 8 nor H.R. 15 will become law before the elections. The Senate version of H.R. 8 failed in the Senate. And while the Senate version of H.R. 15 passed the Senate, it failed in the House.

So where do we go from here?

  1. If your representative opposed H.R. 8 or supported H.R. 15, thank him or her.
  2. If your representative voted for H.R. 8, call his or her office and share your views about Bread's Faithful Tax Policy and the need to continue low-income tax credits like the EITC and CTC.
  3. Urge your members of Congress to sponsor and support smart, responsible tax policy that does the following:
    • continues the current EITC and Child Tax Credit benefit levels.
    • doesn't further burden low-income families.
    • brings in more tax revenue so Congress can address the country’s deficits while maintaining its commitment to fighting hunger and poverty.

Budget and tax policy is about choices and priorities. We shouldn’t be choosing between fiscal sustainability and ending hunger. We can and must address them simultaneously. It’s about priorities.

Amelia Kegan is a senior policy analyst at Bread for the World.

Photo: Mother and daughter enjoy a block party in Washington, DC. Photo by Crista Friedli/Bread for the World

« Untangling the House Tax Proposals: Part 1 Congress may be in recess, but Bread isn't! »


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