After bumping up the child tax credit to appease Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee and Florida’s Marco Rubio, Republicans now appear to have the votes to pass the massive tax overhaul
Sen. Mike Lee now on board with GOP plan.<br>
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah heads to the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 27, 2017.
Washington • Republican senators now appear to have the votes to pass a massive tax reform bill next week after Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida and others pushed for an expansion of the child tax credit, clearing the way for the biggest change to the tax code in more than three decades.
Lee had been a holdout on the legislation but now says he’s looking forward to supporting it after negotiators made up to $1,400 of the $2,000 child tax credit refundable.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who was also a questionable vote, came out in favor of the legislation as well Friday, as did Rubio and Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada and Tim Scott of South Carolina.
“Senators Rubio, Heller and Scott have done a tremendous job fighting for working families this week and they have secured a big win,” Lee said in a statement. “I look forward to reading the full text of the bill and, hopefully, supporting it.”
Rubio tweeted that the bill is a “solid step toward broader reforms which are both Pro-Growth and Pro-Worker.”
Republicans hold 52 seats in the chamber, and Senate leaders were working to ensure passage of the bill, the first to overhaul the tax code since 1986. Rubio had said he wouldn’t back the bill unless the child tax credit was increased.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the result means Congress is “on the cusp of a historic moment.”
Right now, we are closer than we’ve been in more than three decades to overhauling our nation’s outdated and burdensome tax system,” the senator said in a statement.
“The legislation, represented by the conference report we signed today, will lower individual tax rates across the board and give the largest portion of tax cuts to middle-class families. We are very close to giving working, middle-class families additional help in the form of larger paychecks, an expanded child tax credit, and a simplified system where more than nine in 10 taxpayers will be able to entirely avoid the complex and time-consuming process of itemizing their deductions.”
Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, were on the committee hammering out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the tax bills.
Democrats aren’t expected to support the legislation, which rolls back the top corporate tax rate to 21 percent from the current 35 percent and erases some deductions for families and individuals. The legislation unveiled Friday night sets seven tax brackets and doubles the standard deduction.
The bill also lowers the tax rate for most Americans and small-business owners until 2016, and allows for taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 of their local and state taxes on their federal returns.
The child tax credit change sought by Lee and Rubio allows working families to get a refund even if they don’t earn enough to owe the federal government money.
The bill also takes a stab at the Affordable Care Act, ending the law’s mandate that individuals buy health insurance or face a penalty.
The House and Senate are set to vote next week on the bill, a legislative victory for Republicans and President Donald Trump after a year of failure to pass bills to gut the Affordable Care Act and other campaign promises.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the bill was a sham.
“Under this bill the working class, middle class and upper middle class get skewered while the rich and wealthy corporations make out like bandits,” Schumer said in a statement. “It is just the opposite of what America needs, and Republicans will rue the day they pass this.”