Who are the Republican members of the US House or US Senate who are most excited about expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit?

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Who are the Republican members of the US House or US Senate who are most excited about expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit?

Hello!

Thanks for your question about the Republican members of the US House and Senate who are most excited about expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. The most useful sources I found for answering your question are the New York Times and Morning Consult. The short answer is that the Republican members of the US House of Representatives and Senate who have publicly championed the expansion of EITC are Mike Coffman, Carlos Curbelo, Pat Tiberi, Tom Reed, Marco Rubio and Thomas R. Carper. Below you will find a deep dive of my findings.

OVERVIEW

Marco Rubio (US Senate), Mike Coffman (US House), Carlos Curbelo (US House), Pat Tiberi (US House), Thomas R. Carper (US Senate) and Tom Reed (US House) are the Republican members who have publicly championed the expansion of EITC or have proposed legislation in line with this approach. They would be considered the best fit for your request.

Since this list only includes 6 members, I have additionally searched for members who may have more than a passing interest in the design of potential legislation. I have found a letter to the IRS asking for improved fraud detection in the EITC, which was signed by the following Republican members: Kevin Brady (TX), Pat Tiberi (OH), Charles Boustany (LA), Peter Roskam (IL), Vern Buchanan (FL), Lynn Jenkins (KS), Erik Paulsen (MN), Diane Black (TN), Tom Reed (NY), Todd Young (IN), Mike Kelly (PA), Jim Renacci (OH), Pat Meehan (PA), Kristi Noem (SD), Bob Dold (IL) and Tom Rice (SC).

To provide this answer, I relied on trusted media, Congress database and legislators' own personal websites.

REPUBLICANS WHO HAVE MADE PUBLIC STATEMENTS AND/OR PROPOSED LEGISLATION FOR EITC

Six members of the US House/Senate stand out as having a strong interest in expanding the EITC. Below I have listed these members, along with their public statements regarding this legislature and why they would be excited about expansion.

1. Marco Rubio (US Senate)

Brookings Institute notes that "Rubio and others have also proposed increasing the EITC for single childless workers and non-custodial parents". Rubio continued promoting this idea through 2016, and speaks of "developing legislation to replace the earned income tax credit with a federal wage enhancement." This could be considered equivalent to an expansion of the EITC in terms of its ideals, as it would "apply the same to singles as it would to married couples and families with children," and it would also "arrive in sync with a monthly paycheck rather than a year-end lump-sum credit."

2. Mike Coffman (US House)

"Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., has launched a bipartisan push to broaden the refundable earned income tax credit[...]his proposal would lower the minimum age required to claim the EITC from 25 to 21 for all eligible workers and would allow more benefits to flow to single workers without children. It also would change the phase-in and phase-out provisions for the EITC, so that the benefit grows more quickly, and then shrinks more quickly as earnings approach an income cap".

In a more recent statement, Coffman added that "there is an alternative to a significant government-mandated increase in the minimum wage that will help low-wage workers without reducing employment. My EARN IT Act (H.R. 4946) will expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to childless workers and lower the age of eligibility from age 25 to 21 and pay for it by reducing the fraud in the existing program".

3. Carlos Curbelo (US House)

Curbelo supported Coffman's proposal. Additionally, when the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act was adopted, he released a statement noting that "for working class families, the Earned Income Tax Credit will see reduced marriage penalties, while the Child Tax Credit will expand the refundability for low-wage workers. This important package also includes a five-year extension to the New Markets Tax Credit and Work Opportunity Tax Credit, two programs that greatly benefit low-income communities by revitalizing blighted properties while expanding the workforce".

4. Pat Tiberi (US House)

Commenting on the positive effects of EITC last year, Tiberi said that "it’s a program that encourages skin in the game, if you will. Anything that we can do to break the cycle of dependency is a good way to go. I see the benefits of it".

5. Thomas R. Carper (US Senate)

In 2015, Carper proposed an act by which "the earned income tax credit is also modified to: (1) allow an increase in such credit for individuals with no qualifying children, (2) revise tax credit eligibility rules for married individuals living apart and qualifying children claimed by another family member, and (3) repeal the denial of such credit for taxpayers with excess investment income".

In a more recent statement he said that "EITC may be the 'best anti-poverty program in America' because it encourages people to work and rewards work more than welfare." Carper considers that "It is our job as government to create jobs that people need; and people should be better off when they’re working than on welfare."

6. Tom Reed (US House)

Reed proposed the National Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2015, with the aim of "providing a special rule to allow individuals affected by a disaster in 2012, 2013, 2014, or 2015 to claim a full earned income tax credit". While not directly connected to the EITC, Reed cosponsored the introduction of HR 4708: the Credit for Caring Act. The bipartisan bill would provide a tax credit for care giving expenses, indicating that these kinds of credits are of special concern.

EITC FRAUD DETECTION

After much research, I could not find any further Republican members of the US House or US Senate who have made public statements on proposing the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, or who have proposed a bill related to the expansion of EITC in any form.

As a result, I looked further afield to find out if there were any more members who could be considered likely to have a strong interest in the legislature. I sourced a relevant letter, signed in 2016 by the following Republicans: Kevin Brady (TX), Pat Tiberi (OH), Charles Boustany (LA), Peter Roskam (IL), Vern Buchanan (FL), Lynn Jenkins (KS), Erik Paulsen (MN), Diane Black (TN), Tom Reed (NY), Todd Young (IN), Mike Kelly (PA), Jim Renacci (OH), Pat Meehan (PA), Kristi Noem (SD), Bob Dold (IL) and Tom Rice (SC). The letter was sent to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and referenced the agency’s use of the Do Not Pay (DNP) portal to stop improper EITC payments.

The letter states: "The Internal Revenue Service’s current process of relying on an applicant’s self-attested income and paying out the EITC before that income is confirmed is not working." The signatories believe that "Reducing improper payments is critical to safeguarding federal funds, helping to achieve cost savings, improve the government’s fiscal position, and ensure we are meeting the needs of those who are eligible.”

This letter indicates that the above listed Republican members of the US House are highly interested in the efficiency of EITC, so they also might be a suitable target when reaching out to talk with interested parties about how to design potential legislation, as you described in your plan on how will you use this information.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

In addition to the above specific members, I came across some related information during my search that may also be of use to you.

A list of states and local governments with earned income tax credit can be found here. Republicans from these states may be especially susceptible to the discussions on designing the new legislation related to EITC.

At this link you will find a list of Republican Senators who voted for adoption of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 which made "permanent the 2009 EITC and CTC provisions, increasing the tax credit amount for larger families and reducing the marriage penalty for joint filers". Additionally, here you can find US House voting records on the same topic, including a list of representatives who voted for and against the Act.

SUMMARY

To conclude, the six Republican members of the US House and Senate who are most excited about expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit are Marco Rubio, Mike Coffman, Carlos Curbelo, Pat Tiberi, Thomas R. Carper and Tom Reed. These members have publicly championed the expansion of EITC or proposed legislation in line with this approach.

In addition to this, a large group of Republicans signed a letter to the IRS asking for improvements in fraud-detection in EITC, indicating their high level of interest in this tax policy.

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