Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama will propose nearly doubling the child-care tax credit for middle-class families on Monday, according to a White House official.
The proposal is one of five recommendations from the president's Middle Class Task Force, which was established one year ago this week.
It comes as an increasingly populist White House struggles to regain political momentum among middle-class, independent voters frustrated by the slow pace of the economic recovery.
Obama will push to increase the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit rate from 20 to 35 percent for families making under $85,000 a year. Families making from $85,000 to $115,000 also would see an increase in their tax credit, the official noted.
At the same time, lower-income families would receive a $1.6 billion increase in child care funding, the largest one-year increase in two decades.
In addition, the White House will propose limiting a student's federal loan payments to 10 percent of his or her income above a basic living allowance.
National Democrats are reeling after Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, lost to Scott Brown, a Republican state senator who was virtually unknown on the national stage until his upstart campaign began to gain momentum in recent weeks. Brown’s bid to finish out the remainder of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s final term gained traction in part because he campaigned on a pledge to be the 41st vote Senate Republicans need to block Democrats’ health care reform bill.
“John, we lost a very important seat, a very important vote,” Democratic strategist Donna Brazile told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “It’s a disappointment,” Brazile also told King. “It hurts like hell. I can’t tell you how much it hurts. But, it’s also a gift. If we learn the lessons to get back to the basics, to deliver for the American people the change we promised them in 2008.”
“Well, maybe we can find more under the tree,” Bill Bennett, the host of conservative talk show “Morning in America,” said in response to Brazile. “If that’s the gift, then we want to keep on giving,” the conservative commentator added.
Pointing to polling of Massachusetts voters conducted just after Tuesday’s special election, Bennett said “dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, antipathy toward federal government activism, and opposition to the Democrats’ health care proposals drove the upset election” of Brown.
Related: Voter anger helped GOP pull Senate upset, poll says “Brown stressed a lot his unhappiness with the way the [Obama] administration was conducting the war on terror,” Bennett also pointed out Sunday. “The people spoke. The people of blue-on-blue Massachusetts spoke and it could not have been clearer.” Bennet declared.
Brazile disagreed with Bennett’s assertion that the Massachusetts upset was a repudiation of fundamental aspects of the agenda President Obama and congressional Democrats have pursued in the last year. “This is not a defeat that should cause Democrats to become demoralized or to begin to fail in their pledge to change the country. This is an opportunity,” Brazile said Sunday.
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