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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

By the numbers: Census to show first decline of white population

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Census Bureau via Brookings Institute; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The latest census is expected to show the first decline in history for the nation's non-Hispanic white population, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Brookings Institution's William Frey.

Why it matters: The U.S. is rapidly moving toward a majority-minority population — with the racial and ethnic diversity most apparent in younger cohorts. "This really is moving in a direction that’s going to favor the issues and the political agendas of these younger people," Frey told Axios.

Democrats plot filibuster workarounds

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several Democratic lawmakers are moving away from calls to eliminate the filibuster while privately discussing alternatives to bypass it, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: These talks have ramped up in earnest following the Republicans’ move Tuesday to block a measure to protect and expand voting rights.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Infrastructure's remaining potholes

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

President Biden declared victory in announcing the bipartisan infrastructure package. Now comes the hard part: negotiating with his own party on the separate reconciliation bill.

Why it matters: By trying to simultaneously pass two massive spending bills, Biden and congressional leaders are attempting a legislative feat that will likely require Congress to work through its August recess — and potentially well into the fall, according to lawmakers and senior staffers.

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