Illegal immigration trips up tax deal

Immigration is once again threatening to jam up congressional action, this time on tax legislation.

Conservatives' concerns about benefits flowing to illegal immigrants are a major sticking point in negotiations over the package of tax breaks known as "extenders."

'One of the things we should not do is we should not pay illegal aliens to stay in this country.'

Congressional negotiators last week were working toward a deal to reauthorize, and in some cases expand or make permanent, a grab bag of dozens of expired and expiring tax provisions worth almost $1 trillion on a 10-year basis.

Most of the tax provisions affect businesses, but President Obama and congressional Democrats have long insisted that tax breaks for low and middle-income earners be added to the mix.

In particular, they want to re-up the expansions Obama's 2009 stimulus legislation made to the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, currently slated to phase out in 2017. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said last week that further negotiations were dependent on the expanded child tax credit being indexed for inflation. Currently, the $1,000-per-child credit is not linked to inflation, meaning that its value decreases every year.

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