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Rubio threatens to vote against GOP tax bill unless child tax credit is expanded

Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marco Rubio (center) (R-Fla.), attend a news conference with Ivanka Trump on Oct. 25 at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Rubio said he will vote against the Republican tax plan unless it includes a larger expansion of the child tax credit. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has informed Senate leadership that he will vote against the Republican tax plan unless it includes a larger expansion of the child tax credit, he said Thursday.

What does Rubio want?

According to Bloomberg, Rubio and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) have proposed expanding the current child tax credit to allow parents to claim the credit against payroll taxes, a move the lawmakers say would help working-class families who don’t make enough to claim the credit on income taxes. They proposed paying for the credit with a slightly higher corporate tax rate. The Washington Post noted that GOP leadership opposed the plan and voted it down.

“I understand that this is a process of give and take, especially when there’s only a couple of us fighting for it, the leverage is lessened,” Rubio told reporters. “But given all the other changes made in the tax code leading into it, I can’t in good conscience support it unless we are able to increase [the child tax credit], and there’s ways to do it and we’ll be very reasonable about it.”

A spokeswoman for Rubio told TheBlaze in a statement: “Senator Rubio has consistently communicated to the Senate tax negotiators that his vote on final passage would depend on whether the refundability of the Child Tax Credit was increased in a meaningful way.”

Axios noted that Republicans can afford to lose only two votes in order to get the bill approved by the Senate. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has indicated he will vote against the bill, so if Rubio votes no, Republicans would need every other Republican vote and for Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie.

A spokesperson for Lee told the Post that the Utah lawmaker is undecided on whether to support the final tax bill.

The Washington Post noted that some Republicans — such as Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) — argue that the tax credit is already expanded in the bill, increased from $1,000 per child under existing law to $2,000.

What did the White House say?

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday, "We're really proud of the work that we've done already up until this point with Sen. Rubio, already doubling the child tax credit, taking it to $2,000 per child."

"We think he should be very excited about the progress we’ve made on that front," she added.

President Donald Trump later told reporters that Rubio is "a great guy" and he "will be there" on the bill.

Trump added the bill "will be the greatest Christmas present a lot of people have ever received."

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