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Cory Booker at his kickoff speech in Newark, New Jersey. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

While campaigning in Iowa today, 2020 candidate Sen. Cory Booker unveiled a new policy called the "Rise Credit" that aims to expand eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to more working and middle-class families.

Why it matters: Expanding the EITC is an example of some of the niche policy ideas that are becoming mainstream among 2020 Democrats. It's often referred to as a "cost-of-living refund" by activist groups.

The announcement could bolster Booker's reputation as a leading voice on economic redistribution, a position that Elizabeth Warren has firmly staked out. It's also a topic that he highlighted at his kickoff speech in Newark, New Jersey, last weekend.

  • "Creating a fairer, more just tax code begins with putting money in the pockets of Americans who are struggling to get ahead," Booker said.

The backdrop: Adam Ruben, the director of the Economic Security Project Action, has been pushing 2020 candidates like Booker, Warren and Kamala Harris to propose EITC expansion plans.

  • “We’re glad that this bold idea is fast gaining traction among 2020 candidates and Democrats across the country at the federal and state levels,” Ruben said.These direct cash policies are one of the most powerful — and by far the most direct — weapons to fight economic and racial injustice.”
  • Harris' Lift Act is another example of an EITC expansion plan that Ruben's group supports, though they'd like to see it extend to non-traditional workers like caregivers.

Details: Booker's Rise Credit would nearly double EITC income eligibility — which was previously a maximum of just over $54,000 — to $90,000 for a married couple.

  • Eligible workers without children living at home would receive a maximum individual credit of $4,000, roughly 8 times what they get from the EITC today.
  • The maximum EITC credit would increase by 25% under Booker's plan, amounting to more than $650 per month for a married couple.
  • One of the more niche aspects of the expansion, which has been pushed by Ruben's group, is to redefine "traditional" work so that more people are eligible for the EITC. Booker's plan would include family caregivers and low-income students, who otherwise wouldn't benefit from this tax credit and who aren't included in all of the 2020 candidates' plans.
  • The Rise Credit would also change the age qualifications, allowing people 18 and older to be eligible to receive the EITC.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about Cory Booker

Go deeper

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.

CBC members nix border visit

A Haitian migrant carries a toddler on his shoulders today as he crosses the Rio Grande River. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus weighed visiting the U.S.-Mexico border this week to investigate the conditions faced by Haitian migrants and protest allegations of inhumane treatment by U.S. agents.

Why it matters: It's a thorny proposition both in terms of timing and messaging. Going assures a new wave of negative headlines for President Biden amid sinking popularity. And with congressional deadlines in the coming days over infrastructure, a possible government shutdown and debt-limit crisis, Democrats can't afford to lose any votes in the House.

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