December 15, 2017

Rubio a 'yes' on GOP tax bill

Marco Rubio 3

via AP 

The 24-hour saga of Sen. Marco Rubio's tax vote is over.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio will vote for his party's $1.5 trillion tax bill. That gives a major boost to the prospects that GOP leaders will be able to push their prized measure through Congress next week.

The Florida lawmaker had said he'd oppose the legislation unless his colleagues made the per child tax credit more generous for low-income families.

On Friday, Republicans said the final legislation would do just that. Lawmakers said the bill would now let low-earners using the credit get up to $1,400 in IRS refunds if they owe little or no taxes. That's up from $1,100 in the earlier version.

Rubio tweeted that the change is "a solid step toward broader reforms which are both Pro-Growth and Pro-Worker."

Rubio spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said that meant he'd vote yes.

 

Rubio gets concessions on child tax credit

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via @learyreports

Washington tax writers say they have adjusted the sweeping legislation to improve the child tax credit, a demand of Sen. Marco Rubio.

Details have yet to emerge and Rubio's office says he will review the details.

The tax package would double the per-child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. The bill originally made a portion of the credit — $1,100 — available to families even if they owe no income tax. Noem says that amount has been increased to $1,400. Rubio said he wanted the $1,100 figure increased, but he did not say by how much.

Low-income taxpayers would receive the money in the form of a tax refund, which is why it's called a "refundable" tax credit.

Background here.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

December 14, 2017

Rubio to vote against GOP tax bill if child credit isn't expanded for low-income families

Marco Rubio 3

 

@alextdaugherty

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told Senate Republican Leadership on Thursday that he intends to vote against the massive tax bill barreling through Congress if the child tax credit isn’t expanded, a potential major blow in President Donald Trump’s desire to pass a tax overhaul by Christmas.

If the bill isn’t changed and Rubio votes against the plan, there would be no room for additional Republican dissension as the GOP only holds 52 of 100 Senate seats. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker already announced that he would vote against the plan due to concerns on the federal deficit, leaving Republicans with only 51 votes.

Vice President Mike Pence would break a tie if the GOP has 50 votes.

Rubio and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, proposed a change to make the child tax credit fully refundable as a way to help low-income families, but that plan was opposed by Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP leadership and the measure failed.

Despite the failure of their proposed changed, Rubio and Lee voted for the initial tax bill that passed the Senate two weeks ago with 51 votes.

Rubio has made it clear he wants an expanded child tax credit for months, and President Donald Trump hinted at an expansion on Wednesday saying, “You'll hear the numbers very soon but they're even larger than anticipated.”

The child tax credit reduces some families' tax bill for every child they have under the age of 17.

Rubio has repeatedly said he would vote against a tax plan that does not sufficiently benefit the middle class, though he has previously stopped short of threatening to vote against the final plan due to the child tax credit until now.

Read more here.

December 13, 2017

Trump hints at an expanded child tax credit, an idea championed by Marco Rubio

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@alextdaugherty

President Donald Trump may have just handed Sen. Marco Rubio a long-awaited gift: an expanded child tax credit. 

During a White House speech on Wednesday, Trump referenced the child tax credit and said, "You'll hear the numbers very soon but they're even larger than anticipated." 

Trump's remarks came a day after GOP leaders proposed a higher corporate tax rate to pay for lower taxes on couples that make $1 million or more less than two weeks after they rebuffed Rubio's idea to raise corporate taxes to pay for an expanded child tax credit.

Rubio wasn't happy.

Rubio has been pushing for an expanded child tax credit for months, and the Florida Republican wanted to pay for it by imposing a small increase in corporate taxes. He said in in October that expanding the child tax credit to $2,000 from the current cap of $1,000 was a major priority and that he would vote against a tax bill that didn't help middle class families. 

“I’m not going to vote for an increase on the middle class,” Rubio said. “But we’re not going to get to that point. We’re not that crazy around here.”

But Rubio and Utah Sen. Mike Lee haven't publicly threatened to vote against the tax overhaul bill to create leverage for their demands. The Senate voted down their expanded child tax credit proposal two weeks ago, but Rubio and Lee voted for the bill.

The child tax credit reduces some families' tax bill for every child they have under the age of 17. 

 

Republicans are barreling towards a final vote on a tax overhaul that slashes personal and corporate taxes. They aim to vote on the final package before Christmas and they have added urgency to act fast after Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in an Alabama special election on Tuesday. Once Jones is seated, Republicans will only control 51 of 100 seats in the upper chamber. Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker said he won't vote for the plan, leaving Senate Republicans with almost no room for dissent within the ranks. 

"We want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas," Trump said on Tuesday.  

December 12, 2017

Scott, Rubio, Bush, Corcoran … What top Florida Republicans say about Roy Moore

MooreHorse

via @learyreports

It's all about Alabama today as the U.S. Senate race comes to a dramatic conclusion.

Here's what some prominent Florida Republicans had to say about Roy Moore, who would have easily won the race against Democrat Doug Jones had sexual misconduct allegations not surfaced.

Sen. Marco Rubio:

"I think these accusers are very credible. … I think we're going to learn even more as this goes on, and even if he's elected to the Senate, I think there's going to be a process … that could reveal more and be very potentially problematic for him. In fact, I guarantee it would be."

Gov. Rick Scott:

"Whether it's Roy Moore or what you read about the media reports from California or D.C. or Tallahassee, it's disgusting. So, if any of those allegations are true, he ought to resign."

The governor was then asked if a different threshold exists regarding predatory behavior with minors.

"I think whether it's minors, whether it's women, anybody. I mean, let's think about it. We all have children. We have nieces and nephews. I have daughters. Now I have grandsons. I expect people to be treated with respect. That's what you always expect. So, if the allegations are true, he has to get out," Scott said.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran:

"As the father of two teenage girls, there can't seriously be a question of my position. Roy Moore should step aside."

Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam:

"I find the accusations repulsive. I believe that for the good of the people of Alabama, Roy Moore should drop out of the race."

Jeb Bush:

"This is not a question of innocence or guilt like in a criminal proceeding, this is a question of what's right and what's wrong. And acknowledging that you're dating teenagers when you're 32 year old as assistant state attorney is wrong. It's just plain wrong."

December 06, 2017

For some South Florida Democrats in Congress, Trump is right on Jerusalem

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@alextdaugherty

South Florida Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch rarely agree with President Donald Trump, but the pair supported his decision on Wednesday to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital along with moving the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

“My longstanding view is that Jerusalem is and will remain the undivided capital of Israel, and it should remain a city accessible to people of all faiths,” Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, said in a statement. “We must work toward a day where the entire world recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and that can be achieved through final status negotiations. I remain as committed as ever to safeguarding Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, at peace with its neighbors, with Jerusalem as its undisputed capital.”

Deutch, D-Boca Raton, issued a joint statement supporting the move with Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The two are the highest ranking members on the House Foreign Affairs Middle East subcommittee.

“There is no debate that the Jewish people have a deep-rooted religious, cultural and historic tie to Jerusalem, and today’s decision reaffirms that connection,” Deutch and Ros-Lehtinen said.

Deutch and Wasserman Schultz represent districts with large Jewish populations and are seen as supporters of Israel in Congress.

South Florida Republicans uniformly praised Trump’s decision on Wednesday, including Sen. Marco Rubio and Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo.

“I commend President Trump for following U.S. law and recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel,” Rubio said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is an important step in the right direction. Unequivocal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will be complete when the U.S. embassy is officially relocated there.”

But some of Trump’s top Cabinet officials reportedly opposed the decision, arguing that the move to recognize Jerusalem would needlessly inflame tensions between Israel and Palestinians and potentially put people in danger.

Read more here.

Liberal research institute urges GOP leadership to include Rubio amendment in tax bill

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@alextdaugherty

Sen. Marco Rubio's effort to include an expanded and fully refundable child tax credit appeared to die when the Senate voted down the proposal on Friday night, but a liberal Washington-based research institute is urging the Florida Republican to revive his effort as the House and Senate hash out their differences on a final tax bill this week. 

Rubio's proposal with Utah Sen. Mike Lee would raise a proposed cut to the corporate tax rate from 20 percent to 20.9 percent to pay for a child tax credit that reduces some families’ tax bill for every child they have under the age of 17.

"During the Senate debate, the Senate rejected the Rubio-Lee amendment, but now that the bill is in a conference committee with the House, the only route for Senators Rubio and Lee is to use the leverage of their votes to secure this change — as Senator (Ron) Johnson did to secure a larger tax cut for wealthy investors," wrote Chuck Marr, the director of federal tax policy for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "Otherwise, Republicans will cement their choice to pass a $1.5 trillion tax bill without providing virtually any meaningful relief to the lowest-income working families."

Rubio and Lee have not given any indication that they will vote against a tax bill that doesn't include their amendment. Both Republicans voted for the Senate bill which passed with a 51-49 majority.

"Adopting the Rubio-Lee amendment wouldn’t fix either the Republican tax bill’s extreme tilt to the top or its fiscal profligacy, nor would it change the fact that key congressional Republicans are already saying they will seek to pay for their tax cuts next year by cutting programs that support low-income working families. But this modest change would allow millions of low- and moderate-income working families to fare somewhat better." 

Hours after the Senate pass their version of a tax overhaul, President Donald Trump said he'd potentially be open to raising the corporate tax rate cut to 22 percent instead of 20 percent after multiple Republicans said a 20 percent corporate rate was the highest they could support. The current corporate tax rate is 35 percent. 

"It could be 22 when it all comes out, but it could also be 20," Trump said. "We’ll see what ultimately comes out." 

Rubio and Lee's amendment failed by a vote of 29 to 71, and the 29 votes included some Democrats like Florida Sen. Bill Nelson

Read the entire post by Marr here.

December 05, 2017

As Dreamers protested outside Marco Rubio’s office, a U.S. Border Patrol truck showed up

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via @moniqueomadan

As immigrant advocacy groups rallied outside Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart’s offices in Doral Monday, protesters say a U.S. Customs and Border Protection truck circled around the group.

“@ICEgov just sent a truck to intimidate the dreamers fasting outside of the offices of Senator @marcorubio and Congressman @MarioDB. #CleanDreamAct #DreamActNow,” posted Florida Immigrant Coalition’s Tomas Kennedy.

The protest was organized to demand the protection for Dreamers, those who were brought by their families to the United States as children even though they were undocumented immigrants.

Many of those participating— some elderly — launched a week-long hunger strike Friday, urging local politicians to fight the Trump administration’s repeal of the country’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

TPS is a program that protects foreign nationals — Hondurans, Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Haitians — from being deported to their homelands amid instability and perilous conditions caused by armed conflict or natural disasters. The Obama-era DACA programs has allowed those who entered the U.S. illegally as minors to be protected from immediate deportation.

Read more here.

December 01, 2017

Rubio fails in push to increase child tax credit with higher corporate taxes

Marco Rubio 3

@alextdaugherty

Sen. Marco Rubio has been pushing an expanded child tax credit for weeks, but an effort to make the credit fully refundable by slightly raising a proposed cut on corporate taxes failed late Friday night on the Senate floor. 

Rubio and Utah Sen. Mike Lee's amendment to raise corporate taxes by .94 percent to 20.94 percent went down on a 29-71 vote on Friday after Democrats decided not to support an amendment that would have made the bill slightly more palatable to them. 

Rubio and Lee could have held up the tax bill by insisting on the amendment's passage in exchange for their support, but chose not to. Both senators are expected to vote in favor of the final bill. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker has said he will vote against the bill because it does not do enough to help the deficit, but every other Republican Senator has indicated that they will likely support the bill. Three Republican no votes combined with united Democratic opposition would stop the bill. 

"Today, the Senate missed an opportunity to help working families by strengthening the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit," said First Five Years Fund executive director Kris Perry. "Millions of American households rely on this credit each year, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers worked hard to extend it to more low-income families who would benefit most from receiving it." 

The Senate is expected to vote on their tax bill Saturday, just hours after the text of the bill was revealed. The House and Senate will then attempt to work out their differences in conference before sending a final bill to President Donald Trump's desk, if it passes Congress. 

November 30, 2017

Rubio isn't bound to increasing corporate taxes to raise the child tax credit

Marco Rubio 3

@alextdaugherty

Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday that he's open to alternative ways to pay for an increased child tax credit, after his amendment with Sen. Mike Lee to raise corporate taxes to pay for the expanded credit was opposed by President Donald Trump and a slew of conservative interest groups. 

"I'm trying to pass it, and I'm open to how we pay for it," Rubio said. "Cutting corporate taxes by 13 instead of 15 (percent) is one way to do it, but if there's a better way we're open to it. But ultimately, we're trying to allow working families, welders, plumbers, firefighters, members of the armed forces, to keep a little bit more of the money that they earn by working." 

Other senators like Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins have also voiced support for an expanded child tax credit that is fully refundable for low-income families, though there are other ways to pay for it like reducing other tax deductions and raising the proposed corporate tax cut by one percent instead of two percent. 

Conservatives like Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said that the current 20 percent corporate tax rate in the House and Senate tax plans is non-negotiable. 

"We continue to strongly support the unified framework and the 20 percent corporate tax rate that the White House has said they would oppose raising," a letter by Koch-backed Freedom Partners to Senators on Thursday said. "The proposed Rubio-Lee amendment would deviate from that framework by increasing the corporate tax rate beyond 20 percent, undermining the full economic benefits that families would otherwise see. We believe this is the wrong approach." 

The Senate is expected to vote on a slew of amendments, including Rubio and Lee's, late into the evening on Thursday before they vote on a tax overhaul. The Senate and House, which passed its tax bill before Thanksgiving, would then conference together to hammer out a final proposal that would go to Trump's desk if it passes Congress.