A new bill proposed by two Democratic Party congressmen would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for Americans who earned less than $65,000 in 2019 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
News of the bill by Reps. Ro Khanna (California) and Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) spread on Twitter after being reported there by NBC News. The measure would give between $1,000 and $6,000 to eligible taxpayers.
According to a statement released by Khanna’s office, the bill would provide for “checks to 200 million Americans within three weeks of the legislation’s passage, followed by additional monthly payments for the rest of the year.”
Besides confirming NBC’s report, Khanna added in a tweet, “A payroll tax can’t put enough money into the pockets of the working class, the unemployed, or the gig economy. If we can afford to pump $1.5 trillion into the stock market, we can afford the immediate $1k-$6 cash infusion that [Ryan] & I are proposing during COVID-19.”
This was the second proposal by the two lawmakers calling for the EITC to be expanded. In September 2017 they teamed with Ohio Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown to introduce the the Grow American Incomes Now (GAIN) Act. According to a statement released at the time by Ryan’s office:
Under the proposal, the maximum tax credit available increases to $12,131 for families with three or more qualifying children; $10,783 with two qualifying children; $6,528 with one qualifying child; and $3,000 with no qualifying children. Currently, a family of three can receive a maximum credit of $6,318 and someone with no children can receive at most a $510 tax credit.
The proposed EITC expansion would also be phased out at higher income levels and remain fully refundable. It would allow for a worker with no children who makes up to $37,113 annually to still be eligible to receive the tax credit and covers a family with three or more children making up to $75,940 a year to receive the EITC. The current maximum qualifying income to receive the EITC is $15,010 for childless workers and $48,340 for families with three or more children.
The bill also allowed for an advance of up to $500 on the tax credit for eligible recipients, calling it “an alternative to payday loans and other predatory lending products.”
After being introduced in 2017, the GAIN Act was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. It has not advanced further.
However on April 14, 2020 the duo introduced another bill, the Emergency Money for the People Act, that would provide monthly payments of $2,000 to Americans over the age of 16 making less than $130,000 a year. Families who qualified for aid would receive an additional $500 per month per child. The payments would continue until national unemployment levels returned to their status prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.
We contacted both Ryan and Khanna’s offices seeking further comment on their EITC proposal, but we have not yet heard back.
Updated April 15, 2020, 10:20 a.m. PST: We have updated this story to note the introduction of the Emergency Money for the People Act by Ryan and Khanna.