Washington (June 10, 2003) -- Dodging a political football, President Bush sent a strong message to House Republicans Monday -- send me a bill to offer a child tax credit for the poor.

"His advice to the House Republicans is to pass it, to send it to him, so he can sign it," the president's chief spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said. "He understands they're going to take a look at some other tax matters. That's their prerogative. But he wants to make certain that this does not get slowed down, bogged down. He wants to sign it."

The message from the White House signals an end to a Congressional drama that pitted Republicans in the Senate -- who overwhelmingly passed a measure last week to increase the child tax credit so that millions of low-income families would benefit. The law signed by Bush a few weeks ago offered a child tax credit, but only for families whose incomes are high enough that they actually pay federal taxes.

House Republicans blanched at offering up such a bill, and were quickly criticized by Democrats as heartless legislators who only wanted to aid the wealthy.

The Senate measure would increase the child tax credit so that 6.5 million poor familes would receive checks for $400.

--  WebCPA staff

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