WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican negotiators in the U.S. Congress on Friday expanded a child tax credit that is part of sweeping tax legislation in order to shore up support for passage, but it was still unclear whether the move was enough to satisfy two balking senators.
Republican Representative Kristi Noem said on Friday that the refundable portion of an expanded child tax credit in the tax bill under negotiation has risen to $1,400 from $1,000, an apparent bid to win support from Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee.
“I believe we’re in a good spot and should be able to earn his support,” Noem said, referring to Rubio. She is a member of the House-Senate conference committee that is working on a final tax bill.
Aides to both Rubio and Lee said they had not yet seen the text of the latest child tax credit provision.
“Until we see if the percentage of the refundable credit is significantly higher, then our position remains the same,” said Rubio spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas.
On Thursday, Rubio said he would not support the tax bill without a significant improvement to the child tax credit.
Before the new proposal was circulated, Rubio noted the pending legislation would double the child tax credit to $2,000 but said only about half of the credit would be refundable to millions of working-class families.
Rubio said on Twitter that he could only support the bill if the percentage of the child tax credit available to working-class parents is increased to a percentage “meaningfully higher” than 55 percent.
Republican leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives were working furiously on Friday to put the finishing touches on the massive tax bill. Their hope is to unveil details of the legislation later on Friday and queue it up for votes by the full Senate and House next week.
Republicans control 52 of the Senate’s 100 seats. The 46 Democrats and two independents are not expected to vote for the bill.
Republican Senator Bob Corker opposed an earlier version of the legislation. If he remains a “no” vote on this latest version, largely because of the bill’s impact on federal deficits, two more “no” votes from the Republican side would sink the measure.
President Donald Trump is pushing hard for passage of the bill that would be his first major legislative victory since taking office in January.
Reporting by Makini Brice, Amanda Becker and Richard Cowan; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Bill Trott