Congressman Tim Ryan joins Rep. Ro Khanna and Sen. Sherrod Brown to Introduce Landmark Legislation to Raise the Wages of Working Families

Sep 13, 2017 Issues: Economy

Washington, DC — Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) joined Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) to introduce legislation in the House that would give working families a much-deserved wage boost to compensate for 40 years of wage stagnation. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Sherrod Brown. The Grow American Incomes Now (GAIN) Act would greatly expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) so that more working families and childless workers are eligible to receive it. The bill comes at a time when the Trump Administration and Republicans are supporting devastating budget cuts to programs that help working families in exchange for tax breaks for the very wealthy and big corporations.

The GAIN Act roughly doubles the EITC for working families and increases the credit for childless workers almost six-fold. 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.

“America is the richest nation in the history of the world, and yet still too many hardworking families are living paycheck to paycheck. Wages for low-income and middle-class families haven’t gone up in over 30 years, while massive amounts of wealth have gone to the top one percent. This trend is not sustainable, and will not allow long-term economic success for the United States. It is about time we make sure American workers are given a fair wage for a fair days work. That is why I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the GAIN Act, which would provide for a $1 trillion expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This would put an extra $12 thousand dollars in the pockets of hardworking families making $75 thousand a year. This bill will give Americans the raise they deserve,” said Rep.Tim Ryan

“The EITC is already proven at lifting people out of poverty. By strengthening it to reach more families and individuals, it can have a lasting impact on our economy,” said Rep. Ro Khanna. “In today's age of automation and globalization, where work is sometimes seasonal and hours are often curtailed, this bill provides every hard-working American with a fair income for their labor.”

The bill also recognizes many Americans live paycheck to paycheck and includes a provision that would provide an Early Refund EITC as an alternative to payday loans and other predatory lending products. EITC advances would be capped at $500 each taxable year and would be subtracted from the recipient’s total credit when they file their annual tax return. Instead of receiving the lump sum once a year, this early refund makes it easier for working families and individuals to pay their monthly bills and provide financial security. The bill also lowers the qualifying age for the EITC from 25 years old to 21 years old.

Who Benefits from the EITC

More than 26 million working families and individuals in every state received the EITC in 2015 according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Under the bill, it is estimated that nearly half of American households will pay no federal individual income tax in 2017, up from the 44 percent under current law.


Current Maximum Credits vs. the Brown-Khanna GAIN Act

Type of household Current maximum amount of credit (2017 Tax Year)

Maximum amount of credit under Brown-Khanna

Three or more qualifying children $6,318 / $12,131

Two qualifying children $5,616 / $10,783

One qualifying child $3,400 / $6,528

No qualifying children $510 / $3,000


Legislation and cosponsors

House cosponsors (as of 9/11/17): Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Don Beyer (D-VA), Robert Brady (D-PA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), George Kenneth Butterfield (D-NC), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), John Conyers (D-MI), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), John K. Delaney (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), John Garamendi (D-CA), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL), Colleen Hanabusa (DHI), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Gwen Moore (DWI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NJ), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DWA), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jan Schakowsky (DIL), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Jose E. Serrano (D-NY), Darren Soto (D-FL), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Maxine Waters (DCA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Frederica Wilson (D-FL)