May 17,2007

Baucus Statement on CHIP, Tax Relief in Budget

Finance Chairman called for $50 billion for CHIP, added amendment to extend tax relief

Washington, DC – Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today applauded Senate approval of a final Fiscal Year 2008 budget including $50 billion for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and a host of tax relief for America’s working families. Baucus, whose committee oversees the CHIP program and U.S. tax policy, called for full funding of CHIP in the budget, and wrote the provision that allows for the extension of tax cuts including the child tax credit and relief from the joint-filing penalty paid by America’s married couples. The final congressional budget keeps Baucus’s provision targeting $179.8 billion in surplus funds toward tax relief for working families.

“This budget provides the right roadmap for our work this year. Millions of American children and their parents are counting on a robust renewal of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and this budget gives the Finance Committee the room we need to extend health care coverage to as many more uninsured children as possible,” Baucus said. “All of America’s families can appreciate the effort this budget makes to use extra dollars for tax relief. Working families ought to come first when Congress sets budget priorities, and with this document we’ve done the right thing.”

The Baucus amendment included in the final budget seeks fiscally responsible tax relief for America’s working families, and any costs remain subject to the Senate’s “pay-as-you-go” rules. The amendment largely uses surplus funds projected for 2012 to provide:

- permanent marriage penalty tax relief
- permanent extension of the refundable child tax credit
- permanent extension of the adoption tax credit
- permanent extension of the higher child care tax credit
- permanent allowance of earned income tax credit for American soldiers’ combat pay
- permanent extension of the 10 percent income tax bracket
- permanent extension of 2009 estate tax rate and exemption level

Some additional surplus funds are designated for tax relief as well.

The Finance Committee will consider renewal and improvement of the CHIP program, which provides health insurance to children in lower-income families who cannot afford private coverage but do not qualify for Medicaid, shortly after the Memorial Day recess.

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