Washington, D.C.

With Rubio and Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

Lawmakers plan to vote next week
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill Dec 15, 2017.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill Dec 15, 2017.

Categories: News

WASHINGTON — Republican leaders moved closer to a swift victory on their $1.5 trillion tax plan after one wavering senator, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and one senator who voted no on the original Senate bill, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., threw their support behind the final bill.

The unexpected support from Corker, who had opposed the initial Senate legislation over concerns about its impact on the deficit, put the Republicans on the 1-yard line in the final seconds of the tax bill debate. Lawmakers plan to vote next week with the aim of getting a bill to President Donald Trump by Christmas.

On Friday, as details emerged about the final bill, it became clear that the agreement would provide slightly more generous tax breaks to low- and middle-income Americans by reducing some benefits for higher earners, one of several tweaks intended to solve the budget problems standing between the bill’s passage and President Donald Trump’s desk, according to people briefed on the final plan.

With the finish line to their first legislative victory in sight, Republican negotiators agreed to provide a more generous child tax credit in the final bill to shore up support from Rubio, who said he would not vote for the legislation unless it helped more lower-income Americans.

A spokeswoman for Rubio said the senator will vote yes on the legislation, given the changes that were made. The final bill will allow families who owe no federal income taxes to still claim up to $1,400 of the $2,000 child tax credit, up from $1,100 in the original version.

In a tweet Friday, Rubio called it “a solid step” and suggested he would now vote for the bill.

New details from the text, shared with The New York Times on Friday, reveal that lawmakers offset other last-minute changes to the bill — such as eliminating the corporate alternative minimum tax and lowering the top individual tax rate to 37 percent from 39.6 percent today — through slight adjustments, not sweeping changes. And it was still unclear how they were going to pay for the entire package, which can add no more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit if it is to pass without Democratic support.

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