Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) have introduced legislation that would make permanent two tax credits aimed at reducing poverty and helping low-income and working families. Two dozen other lawmakers have signed onto the legislation, which would also expand eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit, which were originally expanded by the 2009 stimulus law and were extended temporarily by the deal to avert the fiscal cliff in January.
The tax credits have received bipartisan support in the past, a point Brown and Durbin made in a release announcing the legislation, The Hill reports:
“Enhancing the earned income tax credit should be a bipartisan goal, as President Reagan called EITC the most effective tool in fighting poverty,” Brown said in a statement. “We need to reward Americans who work hard and play by the rules and ensure that they can work and continue to take care of their families.”
“This bill is pro-family, pro-work legislation that would permanently extend critical refundable tax credit provisions that have helped lift millions of working families out of poverty,” Durbin added.
Combined, the EITC and child credit kept 9.4 million people out of poverty in 2011, according to data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Nearly 5 million of those were children, and the stimulus expansion kept 1.5 million more out of poverty than the original credits would have. Since then, though, Republicans in Congress have sought to roll back those extensions in different tax plans put forth in the House and Senate.
That would be a mistake, since the tax credits don’t just keep families out of poverty — they also increase future earnings for children who benefit from them, according to CBPP. Brown and Durbin’s legislation would ensure that more families — and more children — would be able to take advantage of those benefits in the future.