U.S. senators introduce legislation to extend child tax credit in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN – U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced legislation Thursday to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide the same refundable portion of the child tax credit to families in Puerto Rico with one child or two children that is currently provided to island families with three or more children.
The Child Tax Credit Equity for Puerto Rico Act of 2019, the lawmakers said, would “correct a long-standing discrepancy in the federal tax code that treats 355,000 American families living in Puerto Rico as second class by denying those with one or two children a tax benefit they would otherwise be entitled to had they lived on the U.S. mainland,” a joint release reads.
“There is zero justification for treating any American citizen as second class based solely on their zip code, let alone when we are talking about the ability for struggling families to care for their our children,” Menendez said. “Extending the child tax credit benefit to Puerto Ricans with one or two children will provide these families with much needed relief. Putting more money in people’s pockets will help make families more financially secure and stimulate the local economy at a time when Puerto Rico is still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.”
“Giving Puerto Rican families equal treatment for the Child Tax Credit is long overdue,” Rubio added.
The bill would amend Section 24 of the tax code and would provide nearly $273 million to families on the island. The senators added in their release that recent studies show children, whose families receive child tax credit, do better in school and are more likely to attend college.
Earlier this week, Menendez joined colleagues in introducing the Equitable Nutrition Assistance for the Territories Act of 2019 to restore Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa’s access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).