UPDATE: Reconciled GOP tax bill earns enough support to pass

UPDATE — 12/15, 4:10 p.m. EST: Following the Friday announcement congressional Republican negotiators had raised the refundable per child tax credit limit from $1,100 to $1,400 for low-income families, two GOP senators withholding support indicated they will now vote for the bill.

 

House and Senate negotiators emerged from several days of talks Wednesday and announced a deal had been reached to advance the White House’s long-sought goal of passing tax reform before the end of the year.

Welcoming the news a reconciliation bill between both houses of Congress had been attained, President Trump said:

“The cynical voices that opposed tax cuts grow smaller and weaker, and the American people grow stronger.  This is for people of middle income, this is for companies that are going to create jobs. This is for very, very special people, the great people of America.”

Under the bill, which awaits a final vote in both Houses, the corporate tax rate is reduced to 21 percent and the top individual tax rate will be lowered slightly from 39.6 to 37 percent.  The corporate alternative minimum tax did not survive deliberations and will be repealed; the home mortgage interest deduction will be reduced from $1 million to $750,000.

Commenting on the tentative bill, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), said:  “I think we have a deal.”  On the other side of the aisle, Senator Bernie Saiders (I-Vt.) dismissed the final bill as a “farce.”

Despite Hatch’s optimism, a possible defector emerged Thursday.  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) demanded an expanded child tax credit to assist individuals paying payroll taxes, objecting to the bill’s $1,100 limit.  Republican senators have since pledged to work with Rubio and Mike Lee, who has similar objections.

“If you’ve found the money to lower the top rate . . . you can’t find at least a little bit to at least somewhat increase the refundable portion of it?” Rubio explained. “I can’t in good conscience support it unless we are able to increase the refundable portion of it, and there’s ways to do it.”

Outside of possible GOP defectors, which include Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Corker (Tenn.) and Flake (Ariz.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) argued not against the bill, but for a delay on a final vote over seating newly-minted Alabama Democrat Doug Jones.

Urging Republicans to seat Jones and restart the bill is unlikely to occur.  A final vote is expected next week.

 

Editor’s note: This article has been updated.

 

[AP] [The Hill] [Wall Street Journal] [Reuters] [Photo courtesy Ron Sachs/CNP/Sipa USA/Newscom via The Daily Signal]