(CNSNews.com) - Majority House Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) defended a recent Republican proposal to give recipients of earned income tax credits their checks in monthly installments during the next fiscal year, instead of a lump sum at the start of the year in an attempt to save the federal government $8.5 billion.
"Every income support system in the government pays monthly," DeLay said Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press. "Even the Social Security pays monthly. We felt this was a good reform," added DeLay.
By spreading the payments to the working poor over a 12-month period, "not cutting a dime from what they receive," DeLay said the GOP was attempting to balance the federal budget without raiding the Social Security Trust Fund.
The earned income tax credit plan was instituted in the 1970's under President Ford as in incentive to keep the poor working, said DeLay. He disputed references to the plan as a "refund" of workers' own money.
"This is not a refund," said DeLay. "This is a direct payment from the American taxpayers to the working poor."
DeLay said that the proposal to give the payments in monthly installments is still a possibility despite recent statements from Texas Gov. George W. Bush that the proposal "balances the budget on the backs of the poor."
"We're still looking at it," said DeLay.