House to take up Johnson measure to deter illegal immigration, root out fraud and abuse
U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) issued the following statement on H.R. 4935, the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014, which includes a Johnson-based provision to require a Social Security Number (SSN) for the $1,000 refundable child tax credit. H.R. 4935 is scheduled for consideration on the House floor next week. According to the Treasury Inspector General (IG) for Tax Administration, the refundable child tax credit can serve as an incentive for individuals to come illegally into the United States. The Johnson-based provision would save $24.5 billion.
“In light of the border crisis, my effort to stop fraud and abuse of the refundable child tax credit is more critical than ever. As tens of thousands of individuals surge over the southern border, it is just not right that struggling American families should have billions of their hard-earned taxpayer dollars be handed out by the IRS to illegal immigrants. Enough is enough.”
Johnson originally proposed legislation following a March 2009 IG report finding that the credit could encourage individuals to come to the United States illegally. The IG recommended that tax filers provide their SSNs in order to receive the refundable credit. More specifically, the IG said in reference to the refundable child tax credit: “…the payment of Federal funds through this tax benefit appears to provide an additional incentive for aliens to enter, reside, and work in the United States without authorization, which contradicts Federal law and policy to remove such incentives.” In July 2011, the IG issued another report on the credit entitled “Individuals Who Are Not Authorized to Work in the United States Were Paid $4.2 Billion in Refundable Credits.” That report sparked strong bipartisan concern.
Requiring tax filers to include their SSNs 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, which provides a refundable credit for low-income families. Congress included this anti-fraud measure in the 1996 Welfare Reform law signed by President Clinton. Democrats such as then-Senator Joe Biden, Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Steny Hoyer voted for the law.
Last Congress, the House passed a version of Johnson’s refundable child tax credit bill three times as part of larger bills. However, Reid refused to take them up even though one of his colleagues, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), expressed “alarm” about the IRS’ improper payment of the refundable child tax credit and vowed to take action to end it. Johnson re-introduced his bill in February 2013 (H.R. 556).
“I’d like to thank Chairman Camp for including this commonsense measure that will protect and save taxpayers billions of dollars and deter illegal immigration. Now more than ever we must stand up for hardworking American taxpayers who in today’s economy are struggling to make ends meet.”