The EITC -- a refundable tax credit available to workers with low to middle incomes -- is significantly more generous to those with children. The maximum benefit for the childless is $500, while the benefit for families with children can exceed $6,000, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The president's proposal is an effort to level that playing field, the officials said, pitching it as an effort to combat poverty and reward hard work.
The initiative comes as a response to a proposal by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to replace the EITC with a federal wage enhancement that expands the tax benefits available to workers without kids. But it would simultaneously reduce tax benefits available to low-income families with children, according to the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
In contrast to Obama's optimistic tone, his administration officials noted that he opposes the specifics of Rubio's plan because he believes it would end up taking money away from families with children.