What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Immigration Law Reform : S 1348. (Immigration overhaul) Reid of Nevada amendment that would clarify that illegal immigrants may not qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 191)
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S 1348. (Immigration overhaul) Reid of Nevada amendment that would clarify that illegal immigrants may not qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 191     Jun 06, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that would clarify that nothing in the bill would change current law preventing illegal immigrants from claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a tax credit that reduces or in some cases eliminates payroll taxes for low-income working Americans. According to the Congressional Research Service, the EITC is the largest federal anti-poverty entitlement program.

The amendment was offered to a bill intended to overhaul America's immigration system. Among other things, the bill establishes several new temporary and permanent visas in an effort to encourage the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States to legitimize their residency.

Reid offered the amendment as a response to an earlier amendment offered by Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., that would have prevented any of these new visa holders, who would no longer be considered illegal, to claim the EITC as part of their tax return.

"The earned-income tax credit is an important program that benefits low-income workers with children who are legally working in this country.  This amendment makes it perfectly clear that nothing in the bill changes the prohibition of an illegal alien's access to the earned-income tax credit," Reid said.

Sessions complained that Reid's amendment leaves the bill exactly as it was. "The problem with the legislation is that those people who are today illegal and would be made legal through the probationary status visa or the Z visa would be entitled to receive the earned-income tax credit, which is, on average, nearly $1,800 per recipient. That earned-income tax credit is a direct payment from the taxpayers of America," Sessions said.

The Senate voted 57-40 to adopt Reid's amendment. Democrats present voted unanimously in favor of the amendment. Most Republicans voted against it, however eight did not. Thus, the bill went forward with language clarifying that nothing in the bill changes the current prohibition against illegal immigrants being able to claim the EITC. (Sessions' amendment was also later adopted.)

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