By Alexander Bolton - 03/04/15 11:24 AM EST
Senate and House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a package of tax cuts aimed at helping the middle class as part of a new political offensive against Republicans.
Three members of the Senate Democratic leadership, Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinRetailers have jumped the shark Dems gain upper hand on budget McConnell: Senate could drop flood money from spending bill MORE (Ill.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerElection-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal 78 lawmakers vote to sustain Obama veto MORE (N.Y.) and Patty MurrayPatty MurrayElection-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Congress approves .1B in Zika funds Lawmakers pledge push for cures bill in lame-duck MORE (Wash.) are leading the effort “to challenge Republicans to join them in cutting taxes for working families, not just the wealthiest Americans,” according to a Democratic aide.
Murray, the ranking member on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has authored two of the proposals, the 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act and the Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act.
The first introduces a new tax credit worth up to $1,000 for families in which both parents work.
The second reforms the child and dependent care tax credit to deliver a larger benefit for families. It increases the size of the typical credit from $600 to $2,800 for most middle-income families.
“Our economy has changed a lot in the last few decades, and it’s time for our tax code to change with it,” Murray said in a statement. “Wages for middle class families have been flat even as costs like child care have been rising. And while Republicans continue to call for more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.”
Durbin, the Senate Democratic Whip; and Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownOvernight Finance: Lawmakers float criminal charges for Wells Fargo chief | Scrutiny on Trump's Cuba dealings | Ryan warns of recession if no tax reform Anti-trade senators say chamber would be crazy to pass TPP Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal MORE (Ohio), the ranking Democrat on the Banking Committee, have co-sponsored the Working Families Tax Relief Act. It would expand the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, extending both indefinitely, according to a summary of the proposal. It would index the child credit to inflation.
Reps. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) are co-sponsoring the House version of the bill.
“The Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit encourage work, help families make ends meet, and lead to healthier and better educated children,” Durbin said in a statement.
Schumer, the third-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership; and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, are pushing the American opportunity tax credit.
It would increase the college tuition tax credit from a maximum of $2,500 to a maximum of $3,000 per year. It would also increase the income threshold for eligible families from $180,000 to $200,000 per year.
Their legislation would extend the credit indefinitely and change its lifetime limit from four years to a $15,000 maximum.
“With tuition costs continuing to rise, middle-class families should be able to take advantage of any savings they can get,” Schumer said in a statement.
“That is why I am introducing the this bill, which will provide real relief for families by expanding the number of people who are eligible for this higher education tax credit and increasing the size of the tax credit itself,” he said.