WASHINGTON – President Bush supports a bill expanding the child tax credit (search) for millions of lower-income families excluded from tax-cut legislation he signed last month, his spokesman said Monday.
"The president thinks it's a good idea," press secretary Ari Fleischer said. "He wants to sign that legislation, hopes that the Congress will get it to him quickly."
On May 28, Bush signed a $350 billion tax cut (search) that will send checks worth up to $400 per child to most middle-income families later this summer.
Democrats were outraged when they discovered that a bill they charged was already tilted toward the wealthy omitted low-income families from receiving the child tax credit.
Last week, the Senate agreed to give low-income families a refund worth 15 percent of their income over $10,500.
The change will extend part or all of the child benefit to 6.5 million families making between $10,500 and less than $27,000. Groups backing the expansion calculate that the families have 12 million children.
House Republicans have shown little taste for passing a bill that would give these benefits to workers who don't pay income taxes.
Asked whether Bush would pressure the GOP House leadership to approve it, Fleischer said Bush "will make certain that his message is understood."
"He believes that it's important. We'll work with the House, the House's ideas, but the president thinks at its core, what the Senate has done is the right thing to do, a good thing to do, and he wants to sign it."
There is no vote scheduled in the House. Some House leaders have said they may try to combine the Senate's bill with a provision that makes the child tax credit's increase to $1,000 a permanent part of the tax code. Unless changed, the credit will drop down to $700 in 2006.