BPC Action Urges Passage of COVID-19 Earned Income Act in Economics and Finance

BPC Action urges passage of the COVID-19 Earned Income Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill introduced by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) (S. 3542) and Reps. Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) (H.R. 6762). 

This commonsense legislation would ensure that the millions of Americans who rely on the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit do not have the rug pulled out from under them in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. Specifically, the size of the tax credits depends on a worker’s earnings in the prior year, and this bill would allow them to use either their 2020 or 2019 earnings when calculating this year’s credits. 

Congress has long made these credits more flexible during emergencies, passing similar “look-back” provisions after natural disasters like the California wildfires or Gulf Coast hurricanes. Such flexibility is now needed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the CARES Act allowed businesses to use 2019 or 2020 revenue when deducting interest payments. Congress should offer the same flexibility to hard-working families whose income has been affected by the pandemic and recession. 

This bill will also support an economic recovery by putting money in the hands of the people most likely to spend it. Most importantly, it is the fair thing to do. As Congress comes together to forge a relief package, this bipartisan legislation should be a priority.