What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : H. Res. 543. Sense of the House Resolution/Passage of Resolution Expressing the Sense of the House That Republican Tax Relief Bill for Married Couples Should Be Adopted. (2002 house Roll Call 430)
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H. Res. 543. Sense of the House Resolution/Passage of Resolution Expressing the Sense of the House That Republican Tax Relief Bill for Married Couples Should Be Adopted.
house Roll Call 430     Oct 02, 2002
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

In the tax code, married couples receive a smaller deduction than they would had they filed taxes separately. Legislation was considered in the House and Senate which would have provided joint filers with twice the deductible that single filers receive, thereby correcting the so-called "marriage penalty" in the tax code. Differences between the House and Senate bills, however, were unable to be resolved before Congress adjourned for the congressional session. The subject of this vote was a non-binding resolution expressing the "sense of the House" that Congress should pass legislation to permanently extend tax breaks for married couples contained in the 1.35 trillion tax cut measure adopted in 2001 (the tax breaks in the 2001 bill would expire in 2010). In the view of Progressives, the non-binding resolution was a GOP-effort to blame the Senate for failing enact the House-passed marriage penalty tax relief bill ("sense of the House" resolutions do not have the force of law). In the view of Progressives, the Senate bill was a more responsible approach for two reasons. First, the Senate version would apply marriage penalty relief to all married couples (in contrast, the House-passed measure would not extend the marriage tax breaks to low-income married couples). Second, the Senate bill did not make the tax breaks permanent. During the current period of rising federal budget deficits, Progressives felt as though the government was not in a financial position to provide permanent tax cuts. Moreover, Progressives worried that the GOP-drafted marriage breaks would threaten other programs like Social Security. Based on their objections to the House-passed marriage tax break bill and the GOP's political posturing on the issue, Progressives voted in opposition to the sense of the House resolution. Despite objections from Progressives, however, the resolution was adopted by a 285-130 margin.

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