Johnson Floor Statement: H.R. 4935 - The Child Tax Credit Improvement Act
WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) delivered the following remarks in support of H.R. 4935, the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014. H.R. 4935 includes Johnson’s commonsense measure to require a Social Security number when claiming the $1,000 refundable child tax credit.
Remarks as prepared:
I thank my colleague for yielding.
I would also like to thank Chairman Camp for including in this bill my common sense measure to require tax filers to provide their Social Security numbers in order to claim the $1,000 refundable child tax credit, formerly known as the additional child tax credit. My measure would save $24.5 billion. That’s real money.
Sadly, there’s been a lot of misinformation about this common sense measure that I would like to clear up.
First, this is basically a benefit check handed out by the IRS.
Second, my measure is based on the good work of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Right now the IRS is providing this refundable child tax credit to those who are here illegally. But don’t take my word for it. This is what the IG has said about the refundable credit:
“Although the law prohibits aliens residing without authorization in the United States from receiving most Federal public benefits, an increasing number of these individuals are filing tax returns claiming the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC).”
Notice the IG refers to this as a public benefit. The IG also points to an increase in the number of illegal immigrants claiming this benefit. And I would add that some are claiming children who don’t even live here.
Third, and even more troubling in light of the border crisis, is that the IG says this credit can encourage individuals to come illegally to the U.S. The last thing we need is to continue to encourage folks from Central America to make the dangerous and life threatening trek to Texas. Accordingly the IG has recommended that the IRS require Social Security numbers. And why is that? Because Social Security numbers are provided to those who can legally be in the U.S. Additionally, this credit is based on earned income. Income that should be earned by those who have Social Security numbers. Period.
Fourth, it’s not just Republicans who have expressed concern and the need to take action but also Democrats – yes Democrats -- about the IG’s work. For instance, following the 2011 IG report, Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri, demanded answers from the IRS and more importantly vowed to end payments to individuals without Social Security numbers.
Also then-Finance Chairman and Democrat Senator Max Baucus from Montana along with other Finance Committee members fired off a letter expressing “serious concern” to Treasury and the IRS.
Fifth, requiring tax filers to include their Social security numbers for the $1,000 refundable child tax credit is a long-standing commonsense idea. For instance, the IRS requires Social Security numbers for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a similar refundable credit for low-income families. Congress included this anti-fraud measure in the 1996 Welfare Reform law signed by Democrat President Bill Clinton. Democrats such as then-Senator Joe Biden, Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Steny Hoyer voted for the law.
Now let me ask: Do Democrats now oppose requiring Social Security numbers for the Earned Income Tax Credit?
And in 2008, 215 House Democrats voted for the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 which provided tax rebates to individuals and children. Guess what? That bill also required Social Security numbers. Do Democrats now regret supporting this policy back in 2008?
What’s going on here is that President Obama and his Democrat allies in Congress are now playing politics with taxpayer dollars. It’s wrong and irresponsible! There is no policy reason for this opposition.
Bottom-line, my measure is about protecting the hard-earned taxpayer dollars of Americans, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet in this economy.
It’s time to stop playing politics with this. It’s time to stand up for the American taxpayer. I thank the Chairman again for working with me on this important taxpayer protection measure.
I yield back.
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