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Christian Leaders Continue to Pressure President
To Intervene on Child Tax Credit Benefit
June 26, 2003, Washington, D.C.-The National Council of Churches USA (NCC) today continued to pressure President George W. Bush to urge Congress to restore the child tax credit benefit for low income families that was dropped from the final tax bill, which he signed into law last month.
With the quickly approaching Congressional recess, the NCC sent a second copy of the letter that was signed by Christian leaders last week to encourage the President to intervene on behalf of nearly 12 million families that would not receive the tax relief.
In a cover letter, NCC General Secretary Dr. Bob Edgar thanked President Bush for his statement last week asking Congress to further extend the child tax credit. However, Dr. Edgar noted that without further intervention, the Senate version of the tax bill could die in Congress.
Referring to a speech the President made in Minnesota last week, Edgar noted that similar to those who will receive the tax cut, there are millions of low income families who could use the tax credit to save for their childrens education or to meet other needs.
"These parents also understand, as you have espoused, the importance of loving children with heart and soul. However, they will not have the same opportunity to better their childrens lives if this bill dies in Congress," said the letter.
The updated letter included the signatures of two additional denominational leaders from the United Church of Christ and the International Council of Community Churches who asked that their names be added, bringing the total number of signatories to 13.
"We plan to keep putting pressure on the President and Congress until the Senate version of the tax bill is passed. If this bill dies in Congress, about 12 million children will be sent a message that says they dont matter because their parents dont make enough money. Thats not acceptable to us," said Edgar.
The follow-up letter also notes that the NCC will use its networks to compel Congress to advocate for the inclusion of the child tax credit benefit.
The new (cover) letter - posted yesterday for arrival today -- follows.
Dear Mr. President:
Thank you for your statement on June 19 urging Congress to send you a further extension of the child tax credit benefit. While we applaud your comment, we remain concerned that the House leadership will not pass a bipartisan bill without further intervention from you.
Last week we sent you a letter signed by denominational leaders affiliated with the National Council of Churches, asking you to call on Congress to restore the child tax credit benefits that were dropped from the final tax bill. Since then leaders from the United Church of Christ and International Council of Community Churches have asked that their names be added to this letter. We are sending you an updated copy and encourage you to further press this issue with the House leadership.
Like the single mother, Deborah Simonet, whom you mentioned in your speech in Minnesota last Thursday, there are millions of other parents who could use this tax relief to save for your childrens college education or to meet other needs. These parents also understand, as you have espoused, the importance of loving children with heart and soul. However, they will not have the same opportunity to better their childrens lives if this bill dies in Congress.
We need your leadership now more than ever, so that millions of low-income families can secure their childrens future. Please push for the House to pass the Senate version of the tax bill without further delay. To support you in this effort, we will be using our networks to encourage Congress to do the same.
I look forward to receiving your response. Thank you and God bless you.
Rev. Bob Edgar General Secretary
Media contact, Washington, D.C.: Leslie Tune, (202) 544-2350, ext. 11 or (202) 297-2191 (cell); New York: Carol Fouke, (212) 870-2252.
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