The Washington Post story I quote directly below says that the House version of the new tax-cut bill "would provide the same tax credit for those low-income families" as the Senate version. Of course, that's a tad inaccurate -- as The New York Times puts it,
Over the furious objections of Democrats who were not allowed to bring up an alternative measure, House Republicans voted not to include language from a bill passed by the Senate last week that would immediately send checks of up to $400 per child to families with minimum-wage incomes. While those families, making between $10,500 and $26,625, could get the increased credits under the House bill, they could have to wait until next year and claim a refund when filing their tax return.
Um, that's a big difference. Why didn't the Post story mention it?
Oh, well maybe this is the reason: A newer WashPost story says,
House Republicans said the bill doesn't prohibit the Treasury Department from issuing checks to low-income families later this year, leaving open the possibility that the final version negotiated between the House and Senate will include rebates for those families this fall.
"We intend to get these checks out as quickly as possible," said John Feehery, spokesman for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
A House Ways and Means Committee aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the committee made a practical decision not to write in instructions for Treasury to send advance refunds and allow low-income families to claim the bigger refund in 2004. They did not want to delay checks already scheduled to go to 25 million families, and a second round of checks would be costly and burdensome to the Internal Revenue Service.
So, instead of ensuring that low-income families get refunds, they voted to just to make it possible (but not inevitable) for low-income families to get refunds -- and then claimed they did so because they really, really care -- about people who need the credit less, some of them a lot less.
Oh, and I love the part about wanting to spare the IRS a second round of check-mailing because it "would be costly and burdensome." The debt this year is going to be $400 billion, payable by our kids? Shouldn't these guys have been worrying about what's "costly and burdensome" a long time ago?