Congress Passes American Tax Relief Act of 2012 - Capital Area Food Bank
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Congress Passes American Tax Relief Act of 2012

By Brian Banks January 2, 2013

The U. S. House of Representatives voted on January 1st to pass the American Tax Relief Act of 2012 by a vote of 257-167; following the Senate’s passage of the same bill the day before. The passage of this act allows for a one-year extension of the current Food, Conservation & Energy Act of 2008, known as the Farm Bill. This legislation is not set to expire until the end of fiscal year 2013 in September.
For Americans and food banks across the nation the passage of the American Tax Relief is good news. However, there is much work still to be done to ensure that our nation’s entitlement programs do not disappear or receive major cuts at the end of FY 2013.
Congressional Republicans are moving forward to support cuts to programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Prior to the recent passage of the American Tax Relief Act, the U.S. Senate approved SNAP cuts of $4 Billion and the House called for cuts of $16 Billion. The proposed cuts will most likely include the removal of the employment training program which is under SNAP. This enables people to receive the help and assistance needed to not only find career opportunities, but to obtain the skills to maintain consistent success once in the workplace.
Experts believe that cuts to the Farm Bill’s safety-net programs will occur after the one-year extension just approved by Congress and that Congress will probably have less funding for a five-year Farm Bill reauthorization. Therefore, if there is less funding, there will be fewer dollars to put into the programs that people in need rely on to get them back on their feet. The question you are most likely wondering is, “how much should we expect in cuts?” My answer to that is simple; don’t ask that question just yet. At this time you should contact your legislators, and encourage them to protect the safety-net programs in the Farm Bill.
Will you take time to write your legislators? Please tell them your own personal story, and why the safety-net programs are important to you, your family, your neighbors, your friends and your co-workers. And when you write please ask them not to cut the SNAP or TEFAP programs.
Other important items included in the American Tax Relief Act:

  • 2009 expansion of Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit will be extended for five years,
  • taxes will not rise on middle class and low-income Americans,
  • a congressional pay freeze will be in effect, and
  • unemployment insurance will receive a one-year extension, benefitting the unemployed if they have not worked in 26 weeks.