GOP leaders finalize biggest tax overhaul in 3 decades


WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans finalized their sweeping tax package today, expanding the child tax credit to placate a reluctant GOP senator as they pushed to muscle the bill through Congress next week and give President Donald Trump his first major legislative victory.

GOP lawmakers have been working to win the support of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a potential holdout, and they say they don't see an obstacle for passage.

"I'm confident we'll have the votes," said Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, one of the Republican negotiators on the bill.

Portman cast the bill as providing "the kind of middle-class tax relief that's desperately needed right now. People are looking at flat wages and higher expenses, and this will help."

Rubio wrote on Twitter earlier today he was dissatisfied with the size of a tax credit that low-income families can claim for their children.

"The #workingclass is always forgotten in D.C. We need to add more #taxcuts for #workingclass parents especially those earning 20k- 50K," Rubio wrote.

Members of a House-Senate conference committee signed the final version of the legislation, sending it to the House and Senate for final passage. They have been working to blend different versions passed by the House and Senate.

Two Republican members of the committee, Reps. Devin Nunes of California and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, said they believed Rubio's concerns had been met, but Rubio's office said he was still reviewing the bill.

The tax package would double the basic per-child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. The bill makes a smaller amount available to families even if they owe no income tax. Noem said the amount has been increased from $1,100 to $1,400.

Rubio has said he wanted the $1,100 figure increased, but he hasn't said 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.

Rubio's potential defection had pushed the Republicans' razor-thin majority in the Senate closer to the edge.

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