Policy Experts Highlight Biden Administration’s Opportunity to Expand EITC and CTC

By Katrina Schmidt

Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, the Brookings Institution, and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) recently hosted a conversation to discuss anti-poverty policy proposals most likely to gain bipartisan support at the outset of the Biden Administration, including expanding the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC).  
During the event, a group of bipartisan policy experts debated wide-ranging issues, including how best to provide COVID-19 relief, reduce barriers to work, and support Americans who are near the upper limits of eligibility for social benefits like SNAP. The conversation focused specifically on the importance and political feasibility of making the federal CTC fully refundable.  
Gene Sperling, former director of the National Economic Council under Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, emphasized that workers need to support their families, and a fully refundable CTC can make that goal a reality. 
“This is seen as reducing child poverty – just making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable,” Sperling said. “This would be a dramatic move on child poverty.” 
Scott Winship, director of poverty studies at AEI, said he sees an opportunity for bipartisanship on expanding the CTC. “I think there is a lot of interest in the Republican coalition in an expanded CTC,” Winship said. Winship also noted that his colleagues at AEI intended to propose expansions that would allow people to advance future CTC payments (that would otherwise be received once children are older) to have greater economic flexibility early in their child’s life.  
Panelists also noted that the Biden administration is likely to propose expanding the federal EITC. President Biden has since proposed increasing the maximum EITC for childless adults and raising the income limit as part of his COVID-19 relief plan. Watch the full event here.