H.R. 4935, the perhaps optimistically-titled Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014, purports to end the "marriage penalty" by expanding the CTC to higher-income married couples, which I don't necessarily oppose, and indexes CTC income thresholds and credits to inflation, which I certainly support. But H.R. 4935 does not extend the lowering of the income threshold, meaning that, after 2017, you'll have to make $15,000 annually to get the refund, which doesn't make it as much of a help to the downtrodden as it's supposed to be, does it? I suppose Republicans think if you're not making $15,000 annually, then you're just not working hard enough, end of story -- a position which might be more than heartless in a world where corporations don't go far out of their Way not to hire people. Sadly, that's the world we live in, so such a position would be heartless. But down with them and up with us: RESULTS helps you tell your Congressfolk to ensure that the Child Tax Credit remains a tool for folks to ameliorate and escape poverty.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union helps you tell your Congressfolk to vote on the Smarter Sentencing Act (H.R. 3382 and S. 1410, for those of you keeping score at home) before they adjourn for the month of August. Don't let your Congressfolk tell you they have higher priorities than the Smarter Sentencing Act, when the vast body of evidence instructs us that Congress has no priorities. The Smarter Sentencing Act would give judges leeway in ignoring mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug criminals, would extend the Fair Sentencing Act's crack cocaine sentence reforms to those who received sentences before the Act's passage, and would reduce many other mandatory minimums. Note, also, the bipartisan nature of this bill -- it would be hard to get further apart ideologically in Congress than House lead sponsor Raul Labrador, the Idaho Republican, and Senate lead sponsor Richard Durbin, the Illinois Democrat. Unless you're talking the distance between Bernie Sanders and Mike Lee, or Richard Blumenthal and Ron Johnson -- who are, naturally, also Senate sponsors of the bill.