GOP senators call out ‘harmful’ tax penalties for married couples in spending bill

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Thirty-three Republican senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., calling out the “harmful” tax penalties for married couples in the House Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending bill.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, led a letter with 32 of his Senate Republican colleagues blasting a provision of the House Democrats’ multitrillion-dollar budget reconciliation bill that would impose harsh marriage tax penalties.

Highlighting the financial imposition the bill places on married couples, the senators argued that federal policy “should be designed to foster strong marriages” and warned that the “harmful penalties for marriage” sends “the wrong message” to American families.

“Unfortunately, despite its original rollout as part of the ‘American Families Plan,’ the current draft of the reconciliation bill takes an existing marriage penalty in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and makes it significantly worse,” the senators wrote.

The senators pointed out that while the EITC is “an important policy tool” that incentivizes work, the measure contains “small, but damaging, marriage penalties.”

“For example, a couple in 2019 with two children where one parent earns $12,000 and the other $30,000 could pay $1,578 more in taxes if they are married — or nearly 4% of their yearly earnings,” the letter reads.

“The reconciliation bill could make the same family significantly worse off,” it continues. “It could nearly double the marriage penalty, costing the same parents $2,713 if they choose to marry.”

“We believe that marriage is a vital social good. It is misguided and unfair for the government to build bigger barriers for couples to marry,” the lawmakers concluded.

Joining Romney on the letter are a number of influential Republicans, including Sens. Mike Crapo of Idaho, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Tim Scott of South Carolina.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was unable to get the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed Thursday as talks on the reconciliation bill halted.

By Houston Keene

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