Mr. President, I come before the Senate to once again raise an issue that is near and dear to my heart--an issue that is of great importance to working families across this country. In 2001 and again in 2003, Senator SNOWE and I worked together to ensure that low-income working families with children receive the benefit of the Child Tax Credit. I come here today to again ask my colleagues to help me ensure that low-income families aren't forgotten as we discuss tax relief in the 110th Congress.
Unfortunately, although we have made great strides in ensuring that the credit is a useful tool for our working families, in its current form it isn't working for everyone. We can and should take an important additional step to improve it.
As some of my colleagues may be aware, to be eligible for the refundable child tax credit, working families must meet an income threshold. If they don't earn enough, then they don't qualify for the credit. The problem is that some of our working parents are working full-time, every week of the year and yet they still don't earn enough to meet the income threshold to qualify for the credit, much less to receive a meaningful refund.
In 2006, the New York Times highlighted a report which shows that almost one-third of our children live in families that do not qualify for the child tax credit because family earnings are too low. When you break the findings down by race, it's even more disheartening--about half of all African American children and half of all Latino children are left out of the full child tax credit because their family's earnings are just too low to qualify.
It is wrong to provide this credit to some hardworking Americans, while leaving others behind. The single, working parent that is stocking shelves at your local grocery store is every bit as deserving as the teacher, accountant or insurance salesman that qualifies for the credit in its current form. We must address this inequity and we must ensure that our tax code works for all Americans, especially those working parents forced to get by on the minimum wage.
In response, Senator SNOWE and I have proposed a solution that will build on our previous efforts to make this credit work for those that need it the most. Today, we are reintroducing the Working Child Family Assistance Act, legislation which de-indexes the income threshold and sets it at a reasonable level so that all working parents, including those making the minimum wage, qualify for the credit. This is a simple, easy solution to a serious problem.
I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to correct this inequity and to ensure that those low-income, hard-working families that need this credit the most do receive its benefits.