WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives approved critical tax legislation that would provide low-income children and their families with the resources necessary to help lift them out of poverty.

Among other provisions, the bill, Energy and Tax Extenders Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049), would increase eligibility for the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in the 2008 tax season. Currently, the CTC is a refundable tax credit that allows families to receive a refund of 15 percent of their income that exceeds $12,050. This legislation would lower the minimum floor to $8,500. Lowering this floor would extend eligibility for the credit to 2.9 million additional families, while increasing refunds for approximately 10 million additional families.

As currently drafted, the Senate legislation, the Alternative Minimum Tax and Extenders Tax Relief Act of 2008 (S. 2886), does not include these provisions. The House bill was approved by an overwhelming margin and on a bipartisan basis.

“Research has overwhelmingly shown that investing in children yields returns that last a lifetime, and initiatives to help families overcome the barriers of poverty is just common sense,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus. “The child tax credit can make a dramatic difference in a low-income family’s budget and is essential to improving the health and well-being of children living in poverty. Increasing eligibility for this tax credit will improve the lives of kids living in 13 million additional low-income families.”

Lesley also urged the Senate to adopt House provisions regarding the CTC: “A reformed Child Tax Credit is an important first step on the path towards a tax code that makes the needs of America’s children a top priority. We are profoundly disappointed that this vital provision has not been included in the Senate legislation. Particularly during the recent economic downturn, leaving 13 million children and families out of an important tax package is hurting our nation. Working families with children need all the help they can get. The federal tax system should be designed to help these families provide for their children, work hard, and stay out of poverty. Congress’ inability to remember these families during consideration of this tax package is disheartening.”