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RELEASE: Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Ro Khanna Introduce Landmark Legislation to Raise the Wages of Working Families

September 13, 2017
Press Release
Massive Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit Corrects 40 Years of Wage Stagnation

Washington, DC — Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced joint legislation in the Senate and House today that would give working families a much-deserved wage boost to compensate for 40 years of wage stagnation. 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. More than 50 members of Congress are cosponsoring the bill.

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 sixfold. 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.

“Americans are working longer hours, but too many aren’t seeing that hard work reflected in their pay. And worse—our tax system can actually tax workers into poverty. That’s not how we grow our middle class or our economy,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown. “Updating the EITC will make sure all workers can keep more of the money they earned for their work.”

“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 28 million working families and individuals in every state receive the EITC 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


Current EITC Phase-Outs vs. the Brown-Khanna GAIN Act

Current EITC Phase-Outs vs. the Brown-Khanna GAIN Act

Legislation and cosponsors

Read the Grow American Incomes Now (GAIN) Act online here.

House cosponsors (50 as of 9/13/17): Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Don Beyer (D-VA), Robert Brady (D-PA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA) George Kenneth Butterfield (D-NC), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), David Cicilline (D-RI), 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 (D-HI), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NJ), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-WA), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Jose E. Serrano (D-NY), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Darren Soto (D-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Frederica Wilson (D-FL)

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About the Office

Congressman Khanna represents the 17th District of California, which covers communities in Silicon Valley. Visit his website at Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @RepRoKhanna.

Press Contacts:    

Jenny Donohue/Rachel Petri (Brown) – 202- 224-3978
Liz Bartolomeo / Heather Purcell (Khanna) – 202-225-2631