By Bernie Becker - 01/12/15 09:29 AM EST
House Democrats are pushing to give broad tax cuts to the middle-class, as the party seeks to make a clearer pitch to working families in the new election cycle.
The proposals include a new tax credit for couples making under $200,000 a year, an expanded credit for child care and a tax break for people who put away savings in retirement accounts.
Democrats, who tried unsuccessfully to run on pocketbook issues in the 2014 midterm elections, would pay for the $1.2 trillion in incentives for the middle-class with new taxes on the top 1 percent in earners and on financial transactions.
“This plan — which is fully paid for — attacks the chronic problem of stagnant middle-class incomes from both directions: It promotes bigger paychecks and lets workers keep more of what they earn,” a Van Hollen aide said. “The tax code is now skewed in favor of people who make money off of money and against those who make money off of work.”
The proposals have little chance of gaining traction in the GOP-controlled Congress. "Just as the sun rises in the east, Washington Democrats propose another massive tax increase," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Ryan GOP lawmakers give Trump bad reviews on debate performance Team Trump: Debate won’t move needle in race for White House GOP rebuffs call to uphold Obama veto MORE (R-Wis.).
"Here in the House, our focus is going to be on cleaning up the tax code so that we can lower rates for all taxpayers and help create good-paying jobs, not scaring them off with punitive tax hikes," Buck said.
But the new plan does suggest that Democrats want to offer a sharper contrast on income inequality and paycheck issues to voters now that Republicans do run both sides of the Capitol.
Democrats lost control of the Senate and lost seats in the House in 2014, despite the fact that many of their policy prescriptions, like raising the minimum wage, were popular among voters.