What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : America's Poor : S. 1054. Tax Reductions/Procedural Vote to Defeat an Amendment Designed to Insure that Low-Income Couples Receive Marriage Tax Breaks Just Like Higher-Income Couples. (2003 senate Roll Call 155)
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S. 1054. Tax Reductions/Procedural Vote to Defeat an Amendment Designed to Insure that Low-Income Couples Receive Marriage Tax Breaks Just Like Higher-Income Couples.
senate Roll Call 155     May 15, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

Prior to 2001, the tax code treated marriage in such a way that taxpayers paid more in taxes after they got married than when they were single. Tax cuts enacted in 2001 included provisions to phase-out this "marriage penalty" over a period of ten years. The tax cut legislation considered in 2003 accelerates marriage penalty relief for taxpayers except those who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (which is targeted to low-income individuals). To insure that low income taxpayers also benefit from the marriage penalty repeal, Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT) introduced an amendment that would have provided taxpayers who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit the same marriage penalty relief that is enjoyed by higher-income taxpayers. The cost of Jefford's amendment would be offset by paring back the reduction in the top income tax rate. Progressives supported the Jeffords proposal because they believe that the tax code should treat lowincome married couples and their higher-income counterparts equally. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) contended that the Jeffords measure was not relevant to the tax cut measure under consideration and raised a point of order against the amendment. Debate on budget-related legislation-which, according to recent rulings by the Senate parliamentarian, includes tax cut legislation-is governed by the reconciliation process. Reconciliation rules allow Senators to raise a point of order against amendments by claiming that they are not relevant to the pending legislation in order to defeat the amendment. To overcome a point of order, a sixty-vote majority is required in support of the amendment. The Jeffords amendment failed to attract the necessary sixty votes and was rejected 49-51.

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