Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee advanced several bills that would make remarkable investments in women and families. Specifically, the Committee approved a bill, sponsored by Chairman Richard Neal, that would significantly improve tax benefits for women and families. The Economic Mobility Act of 2019 would, for a two-year period:
- Significantly expand the Earned Income Tax Credit for workers not claiming children, so that federal income taxes would no longer push some workers’ incomes below the poverty line;
- Make the Child Tax Credit fully refundable, so that low- and moderate-income families could receive the full amount of the credit (since the 2017 tax law limited the amount that families can receive as a refund) and increase the amount of the Child Tax Credit for younger children;
- Provide much-needed tax benefits for families in Puerto Rico; and
- Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and make it refundable, which would especially benefit low- and moderate-income families who currently receive little or no benefit from the credit.
Although these improvements would be temporary, they (along with other bills that have been introduced this Congress) represent an important shift towards making the tax code work for women and families, rather than directing exorbitant tax cuts to the wealthy and large corporations under a repeatedly debunked theory of trickle-down economics.
In addition, the Committee advanced a bill introduced by Congressman Danny Davis that would increase mandatory child care funding by $1 billion – an amount that would give as many as 183,000 additional low-income children access to child care assistance. The Committee also approved legislation, introduced by Representative Judy Chu, that would ensure that same-sex couples who were married before the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in U.S. v. Windsor could receive the tax benefits for which they were eligible.
It’s high time policymakers made supporting women and families a priority in tax policy. We can’t wait to see provisions like these become law.