Congresswoman Moore and Congresswoman Fudge Introduce Legislation to Fight Poverty and Honor Unpaid Work

Congresswoman Moore and Congresswoman Fudge Introduce Legislation to Fight Poverty and Honor Unpaid Work

Congresswoman Moore and Congresswoman Fudge introduced the Worker Relief and Credit Reform (WRCR) Act to expand and modernize the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to meet the demands on America’s workforce, including rising costs and stagnant wages. Key reforms to the EITC include changes to the eligibility rules, the maximum credit, phase-in rates, phase-out rates, and creation of a new advance payment regime.

Ways the WRCR Act changes the eligibility rules include (1) decoupling the credit from the number of children a taxpayer has, (2) expanding the age range by reducing the lower age limit to 18 and removing the upper age limit completely, and (3) broadening the types of activities that constitute “work” to include educational activities and family caregiving. The WRCR Act also provides an option for beneficiaries to receive 75% of their estimated credit monthly.

Today, Congresswoman Moore held a press conference at Independence First in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to discuss how her legislation would benefit Milwaukeeans, where 22.5% of residents live below the poverty level. In response to the introduction of this bill, Congresswoman Moore made the following statement:

“This is very personal to me. I was a single mom and a student at the same time. I have also been a victim of the welfare queen trope – which I proudly acknowledge, now. I have been a real critic to welfare policies that claim to help people in poverty that do not actually put people on a trajectory out of poverty. But the EITC is a program that really has some legs for continuing to address the rising cost of living and wage stagnation. Still, at 40 years old, signed into law by Gerald Ford, this credit is long overdue for a revamp.

“I worked closely with the Economic Security project to make critical improvements to the EITC and I’ve thought a lot about how we can achieve certain equities. When I think about the economic progress of the United States over the last century, I know that poverty persists in American not because we lack resources. We have plenty of money. Having money is not the problem. Labor’s declining share of our nation’s GDP is the problem. The concentration of economic benefits at the top is the problem. It doesn’t matter how big our GDP is if the benefits are shared unequally.

“That’s why it is so important to me that we expand the EITC to include more low-wage workers under the umbrella of economic stability. And that we expand it to students so people can be educated to take on the new kinds of jobs needed in our economy and to recognize the work of people taking care of loved ones. We need to acknowledge that this uncompensated labor is not free.”

“It is disturbing that Americans must work multiple jobs for 40 hours or more a week and are still unable to provide for their families,” said Congresswoman Fudge.  “Representing a district where more than 50 percent of Cleveland's children are living below the federal poverty line, I am proud to co-lead this bill with Congresswoman Moore that would benefit 154 million Americans, lower the poverty rate by one-third, and recognize our caregivers’ important contributions to the workforce.  It is our duty to ensure workers and their families do not fall into poverty.  They deserve every opportunity to reach the middle class.”

The EITC currently lifts about 6 million people out of poverty each year. The Tax Policy Center (TPC) performed an economic analysis of the Economic Security Project’s cost-of-living proposal, which shares many of the same features as the WRCR Act. Based on the TPC’s estimate, the WRCR Act would have lifted about 9 million more people out of poverty in 2019 and benefited 42% of households. The Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) estimates that the WRCR Act would help 45% of adults in the United States, 78% of whom fall within the poorest 20%. ITEP also estimates that the WRCR Act would help 57% of our nation’s children –  90% of the benefits would accrue to the poorest 20%.

At today’s press conference, Peter Skopec, the State Director for Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) spoke on the importance of supporting the growing number of caregivers in Americans. A caregiver and local students shared their personal stories, too.

Cosponsors include: Bass, Sanford Bishop, Butterfield, Cohen, Chu, Cicilline, Clay, Danny Davis, Escobar, Fudge, Chuy Garcia, Sylvia Garcia, Grijalva, Haaland, Hastings, Huffman, Jackson-Lee, Jayapal, Khanna, Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Carolyn Maloney, Moore, Nadler, Norton, Omar, Pocan, Pressley, Rush, Ryan, Schakowsky, Tlaib, and Watson Coleman.

Endorsed by the Economic Security Project Action; NAACP Milwaukee Branch; Kids Forward; IndependenceFirst; Caring Across Generations; Community Change Action; U.S. PIRG; WISPIRG; Friends Committee on National Legislation; MomsRising; DEMOS; NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd; Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces; Congressional Progressive Caucus; RESULTS; First Focus Campaign for Children; MICAH Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope; Policy Matters Ohio

Click here for more background information on the WRCR Act.

Stay Connected

Use the form below to sign up for my newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.