Members of both houses of Congress are introducing bipartisan bills to provide a tax credit of $4,000 to retrain workers who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. It would help those workers cover the costs associated with learning new jobs. It comes as 36 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past two months.
The Skills Renewal Act would be available to any worker who lost their job due to the pandemic, according to a statement from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. It would cover training expenses through the end of 2021.
"The tax credit is fully refundable—which means it will be available to all workers, including low-income workers with no federal income tax liability," Klobuchar, one of the Senate bill's co-sponsors said.
The credit can be used to offset the cost of postsecondary programs. Training could be done through apprenticeships, stackable credentials, certificate programs, and two- and four-year programs. Online learning would also be counted.
Sens. Cory Booker, D-NJ, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Tim Scott, R-SC, are also sponsors in the Senate.
The companion bill in the House is being offered up by Reps. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., Terri Swell, D-Ala., and Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.
“We know as a result of this devastating pandemic many in our workforce who lost their jobs are facing incredibly difficult financial burdens,” Brooks said in a statement. "The key to their future is giving them the necessary tools to find a new job."