Democrats and Republicans agree on legislation that can help people?! Yup, queue the Bill Murray quote!
On Wednesday evening House Republicans voted to sue President Obama over a delay in employer mandates for the Affordable Care Act.
Yeah, I know. Doesn’t make sense to us either. And yes. This is something Congress can legally do. I guess there is precedence for it. Though as Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith puts it, “the lawsuit will almost certainly fail, and should fail, for lack of congressional standing.”
So… yeah… nothing is going to happen. This is all essentially a political stunt. Something to show, in an election year, that both parties couldn’t be any more different.
If your gut reaction to all of this is something akin to hopelessness, that would be understandable. I get it. It’s times like these that make you think that these two will probably never get along. And by looking at the data, you’d be right. Republicans and Democrats haven’t been farther apart than anytime in history.
But believe it or not there is something that that both Republicans and Democrats agree on. It’s called the Earned Income Tax Credit (or EITC). If you’re wondering why EITC rings a bell, it was one of the major pillars in Paul Ryan’s anti-poverty plan that the Republicans released on Monday.
Both Republicans and Democrats agree that EITC needs to be expanded. In both Ryan’s and President Obama’s plans want to double the credit’s maximum value from $503 to $1,005 along with increasing the phase-in/phase-out rates to 15%. This is no surprise because BOTH PLANS ARE PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY THE SAME!!!
So what gives? Well, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans can seem to agree on how to fund the thing, with Democrats wanting to cut tax benefits for corporations and high-income individuals, while Republicans want to cut a number of safety-net programs. But with a little compromise this can work!
Let’s just say it’s a little more complicated than that. The Obama Administration and Republicans will refuse the other’s ideas to fund the expansion of EITC due to the reputations each side has been building the past couple of years. Republicans have been steadfast on not cutting taxes on those that are looked upon as “job creators” (ie wealthy individuals and hedge fund managers). Democrats, specifically the Obama Administration, have double-downed on energy subsidies. In Ryan’s plan, these are the same programs in which the bill would cut to expand EITC.
Like everything else, even though both parties are in agreement with EITC expansion, they couldn’t be farther from consensus.