WASHINGTON — The Republicans’ razor-thin margin for driving their sweeping tax package through the Senate was thrown into jeopardy Thursday when GOP Sen. Marco Rubio declared he would vote against it unless negotiators expand the tax credit that low-income Americans can claim for their children.
He told CBS News that he has concerns about child tax credits, and he has relayed his concerns to leadership and the tax bill conferees. Specifically, Rubio wants Congress to increase the refundability of the child tax credit for working families. If they don’t change it, then he says, they obviously don’t need his vote. Rubio and Utah Sen. Mike Lee are the two GOP senators fighting for this change.
The Florida Republican complained over Twitter that negotiators could find the money to increase tax cuts for million-dollar earners, but not for families making $40,000 a year.
Rubio’s potential defection complicates Republican leaders’ goal of muscling the $1.5 trillion bill through Congress next week, handing President Donald Trump his first major legislative victory by Christmas.
Senate Republicans could still pass the package without Rubio’s vote, but they would be cutting it extremely close. An original version was approved by only 51-49 — with Rubio’s support. The co-sponsor of Rubio’s proposed change, Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, is undecided on the overall bill and pushing to make the credit as generous as possible, said Lee spokesman Conn Carroll.
The Senate turmoil came on the same day that a key faction of House Republicans came out in favor of the bill, boosting its chances. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus predicted that the vast majority of their members would support the package.
The developments came a day after House and Senate Republican leaders forged an agreement in principle on the most sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax laws in more than 30 years. The package would give generous tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and more modest tax cuts to low- and middle-income families.
Confident Republican leaders predicted swift passage next week, sending the bill to Mr. Trump for his signature.
At the White House, Mr. Trump said he was confident that Rubio will get onboard.
“He’s really been a great guy and very…