Before heading out for the President’s Day recess, the House of Representatives passed a package of business tax breaks that would cost $79 billion over the next 10 years. The bill doesn’t close any tax loopholes, so all of its cost would be added to the deficit.

At the National Women’s Law Center, we’ve been reviewing President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget—and it proposes much better ways to invest $79 billion:

  • Make child care assistance available to all children under age four in low- and moderate-income families (under 200 percent of poverty). Cost: $80 billion over 10 years. OR
  • Make preschool available to all four-year-olds in low- and moderate-income families. Cost: $75 billion over 10 years. OR
  • Make two years of community college tuition-free. Cost: $60 billion over 10 years.

And President Obama’s budget wouldn’t add the cost of these initiatives to the deficit, but would pay for them by closing tax loopholes and curbing tax breaks for the very wealthy and increasing the cigarette tax.

The worst part is, $79 billion may be just the beginning. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Paul Ryan said the House is “picking up where they left off last year”—which means the House could be voting soon to spend hundreds of billions of dollars more to make temporary corporate tax breaks permanent (and in some cases bigger). And yet, House leaders don’t seem to be considering making permanent the improvements in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit which are so important to women and their families [PDF]. If these tax provisions are allowed to expire, over 16 million people would be pushed into, or deeper into, poverty.

Congress will start work on its own budget plan when it returns. They need to get their priorities straight. 

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