With Republican majorities in the House and Senate, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado has reintroduced legislation to extend tax credits for working families and children in poverty. Good luck with that.
Bennet is one of 42 Democratic senators, two independents (looking at you, Bernie Sanders) and zero Republicans to bolster the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, a package called the Working Families Tax Relief Act.
Democrats have tried similar bills for at least the last three years with a mix of limited success, though such proposals been hailed as an incentive to help low-income parents work and still afford the cost of caring for their children.
“Far too many kids in America grow up in poverty, which often limits their future opportunities,” Bennet said in a statement. “We know that when kids are in financially-secure families, they are healthier, perform better in school, and are more likely to thrive later in life. That’s why expanding the Child Tax Credit for families with young children is not only a moral obligation to our kids, but also the right thing to do for our economy. Similarly, the bill’s reforms to the Earned Income Tax Credit would encourage work, grow our economy and help workers make ends meet.”
The Child Tax Credit allows up to $1,000 for each child younger than 17. The proposal would raise the credit to as much as $3,000 for every child younger than 6. The package also would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to include childless workers, which would increase the credit for a full-time minimum wage worker from $27 to about $913.
The act also would simplify and clarify the rules for separated parents and those not already collecting the Earned Income Tax Credit to enroll.