Dem senator urges expansion of tax credit for low-income workers

Dem senator urges expansion of tax credit for low-income workers
© Greg Nash

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownDemocrats see good chance of Garland prosecuting Trump On the Money — Student borrowers stare down rising prices Biden selects Sarah Bloom Raskin, two others for Fed board MORE (D-Ohio) on Tuesday urged Democrats to stand their ground on matters concerning helping working families and called for a further expansion of a tax credit that helps low-income workers.

"We must make supporting working families a precondition to our cooperation," Brown said at an event to be hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

The event was held on the same day that House Republicans unveiled a plan to fight poverty. It also came one day after The Associated Press said that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat Left laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket A year into his presidency, Biden is polling at an all-time low MORE has the delegates needed to become Democratic presidential nominee. Brown has endorsed Clinton and is seen as a possible running mate for her due to his progressive credentials.

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Brown urged Congress to improve the earned income tax credit (EITC) by expanding it for workers without children and by making childless workers under 25 eligible to receive it. In addition, Congress should raise the minimum wage, he said.

Brown also suggested that people should be allowed to get advances on their EITC payments of up to $500. Doing so could prevent people from having to seek payday loans, he said.

“That’s the kind of innovative thinking, the kind of thing we need to do with the earned income tax credit to serve those low-income workers better than it already does,” he said.

Brown said that Democrats should follow the model they used to achieve those expansions to further expand the credits and get other anti-poverty measures enacted.

When Republicans tried in 2014 to make a deal that would cement business tax provisions, Democrats said they would not support it unless it also included the EITC and the child tax credit. As a result, an agreement wasn't reached that year.

But in December 2015, Congress passed a package that included permanent expansions of the tax credits.

"Democrats remained united," Brown said. "And because House Republicans knew from experience this time we would not back down, they had no other choice but to join us."

The House GOP poverty plan states that “increasing the EITC would help smooth the glide path from welfare to work,” but it does not make any specific recommendations about how the credit should be increased. It also mentions that the EITC has a high improper payment rate.