WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate again failed to pass on a procedural motion legislation that would extend support to millions of low-income, working families.

Included in the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 is a provision to improve the Child Tax Credit, one of the most important federal programs for directing resources to working families with children. Unfortunately, many families are excluded, either in part or entirely, from the benefits of the Child Tax Credit because it is only available to taxpayers who earn above a certain income floor. The legislation voted on today would lower the floor of about $12,000 to $10,000. This small change would extend support to the families of over 2 million children who cannot currently claim the credit at all, as well as provide a larger credit to the families of an additional 10 million.

“Across the nation, there are millions of hard-working parents struggling to make ends meet while providing for their families,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus. “These financial challenges often lead to larger problems at home and in school. Investing in initiatives to help families overcome the barriers of poverty is common sense. We are disappointed that the Senate voted against legislation that would have provided significant assistance to so many in need.”

Recently the U.S. House of Representatives passed a similar version of the legislation, allowing families who earn as little as $8,500 to benefit from the Child Tax Credit. A new brief released by First Focus titled, “The Child Tax Credit Gap: A Snapshot of Families Left Out,” provides an interesting look at the working families who would be affected by this adjustment. The brief, which includes state-by-state breakdowns, finds that the majority of these families are young, hard-working families who are trying to balance the demands of caring for their children.

In addition, the brief reveals that of families making between $8,500 and $12,000 a year:
– 41% have a child under the age of 6 years old;
– 54% work more than 40 weeks out of the year;
– 47% work more than 30 hours each week;
– 9% are students, 90% of whom are working
towards a higher education degree.