Senator Sherrod Brown, Rep. Ro Khanna Propose Major EITC Expansion

By Lauren Pescatore

Two members of Congress are teaming up to bring much-needed relief to low-wage workers and their families through an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) today introduced the Grow American Incomes Now (GAIN) Act in both the House and Senate. Currently, a family of three can receive a maximum EITC of $6,318, while workers without dependent children can receive at most a $510 credit.  The legislation would roughly double the EITC for eligible workers raising children and increase the credit for workers without dependent children nearly six fold. The bill also lowers the qualifying age for the EITC from 25 to 21.

Acknowledging that tax-time refunds arrive too late for many Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, the bill includes a provision to provide an “Early Refund EITC” that can be accessed ahead of tax time and would be subtracted from the recipient’s total credit when they file their tax return. This optional EITC payment structure would help low-wage workers keep up with monthly bills while avoiding payday loans and other predatory lending services.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the GAIN Act would lower taxes on roughly 47 million working families with low to moderate wages. By comparison, President Trump’s tax plan would largely benefit corporations and the wealthy, excluding at least 17 million working families from the proposed tax breaks.

Expanding the EITC would not only provide a financial boost for low-wage workers, but could also help improve health and educational outcomes for these individuals and their family members.