Senators Rubio and Corker Say They Will Support GOP Tax Plan

Sen. Marco Rubio, at the Capitol in November, said he would support the bill after Republicans agreed to expand the portion of the child tax credit that is refundable. PHOTO: BILL CLARK/ZUMA PRESS

Republican senators Marco Rubio and Bob Corker said they planned to support the GOP tax plan, bolstering the chances of passage as party leaders planned to release final details of the plan later Friday.

Mr. Rubio of Florida agreed to vote for the overhaul after Republicans agreed to a more generous tax credit for people with children.

Mr. Corker, who had been the only Republican senator to vote against a Senate tax bill, reversed after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) this week made some unspecified changes to the bill that helped get the Tennessee senator on board.

“I know every bill we consider is imperfect and the question becomes is our country better off with or without this piece of legislation,” Mr. Corker said in a statement. “I think we are better off with it. I realize this is a bet on our country’s enterprising spirit, and that is a bet I am willing to make.”

Republicans plan on final votes in the House and Senate and look likely to pass the bill and send it to President Donald Trump before Christmas.

Lawmakers agreed to make more of the child tax credit refundable, which refers to the amount of money taxpayers get back from the government even if they pay no income tax. Such filers would now be able to get $1,400 of the $2,000-per-child credit, said Rep. Kristi Noem (R., S.D.), one of the members of the House-Senate negotiating committee. That is up from $1,100 in the version that passed the Senate.

The agreement doesn’t make one change that Mr. Rubio had wanted: that the credit be refundable from the first dollar earned, which would make it more generous for very-low-income households. The Senate bill starts making the credit refundable against household income above $2,500.

A spokeswoman said Friday afternoon that Mr. Rubio will vote for the plan. In two tweets, the Florida Republican called the tax-credit changes “a solid step toward broader reforms which are both Pro-Growth and Pro-Worker” while saying there was “still much more to do” in coming years.

Lawmakers offset the cost of the change by reversing a decision to allow the child tax credit for 17-year-olds. The final bill, like current law, would make it available only for children under age 17. Republicans set themselves a $1.5 trillion cap on their tax cut, and exceeding that would prevent them from passing the bill without Democratic votes in the Senate.

Republicans were signing the House-Senate agreement Friday morning, which clears the path for full votes in both chambers. The bill won’t be publicly released until later Friday, and that will show the final tradeoffs Republicans made as well as details like the rates and bracket structure.

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SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, Richard Rubin, Kristina Peterson and Siobhan Hughes