Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Democrats Roll Out 'Middle-Class' Tax Agenda To Compete With GOP

WASHINGTON -- Democrats on Wednesday fired their own salvo in Capitol Hill's ongoing tax cut battles, offering a slew of breaks that would primarily help middle-class and lower-income earners.

Republicans, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Committee on Ways & Means, have already begun work on making a slew of temporary tax cuts permanent -- primarily breaks that benefit businesses. Those cuts would add hundreds of billions to the federal debt and deficit.

The Democrats' offerings Wednesday were aimed to counter that push, and to set themselves up as champions of the middle class.

"We want the spotlight to be very much turned on these basic middle-class tax cuts that matter so much to the middle class, and to those who are not yet in it who want to reach it," said Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) in a Capitol Hill news conference.

Among Democrats' proposals are bills that would increase breaks for child care, working couples and education. Many of these measures were first enacted in the 2009 stimulus legislation, but will expire in 2017. They echo proposals in President Barack Obama's budget, and aim to prevent millions of people from slipping into poverty.

A measure called the Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act would expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to cover expenses up to $8,000. That would boost the average credit that most families get from $600 to $2,800. 

A measure called the Working Families Tax Relief Act would augment the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit by making permanent expansions that were passed temporarily in 2009. It would also index the CTC to inflation.

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