WASHINGTON (November 7, 2007)—U.S. Catholic bishops urged the House of Representatives to make the well-being of poor families with children a central priority when they debate and vote on the Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007 (H.R. 3996).
In a letter dated November 7, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Domestic Policy Committee, stated that the bishops continue to be strong supporters of the Child Tax Credit and believe it to be an essential program that helps low income working families live in decency and with dignity.
"Unless Congress acts, poor working families will increasingly fall further behind. Our faith and moral principles call us to stand with these workers and their children and insist that their needs take priority in this tax debate," Bishop DiMarzio wrote. "One moral measure of tax legislation is how it treats 'the least among us.'"
H.R. 3996 would strengthen and expand the "refundable child credit" to more effectively reach the poorest of working families. As it is now structured, the Child Tax Credit excludes millions of poor and working families because they lack the minimum level of earnings required to qualify for the credit.
"Simple justice," the letter concludes, "requires that poor families not be left out of this effort to assist working families in raising their children."
"Too often, poor families are overlooked in public policy debates. While their voices are not always heard, poor people have compelling needs that should have a priority claim on our consciences and the choices made in Congress."