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Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today unanimously voted to approve a measure introduced by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) urging Senators on the conference committee on tax reform to expand the Child Tax Credit.
 
Rubio’s motion called on Senate conferees to:
 
·         Expand the child tax credit to $2,000
·         Make the first $1,100 of the credit refundable as under current law, with the amount refundable                indexed to chained CPI; and
·         Reduce the income threshold over which the refundable portion of the credit is calculated from                  $3,000 to $2,500
 
Rubio’s speech can be watched here. A transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below.
 
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
U.S. Senate Floor
Washington, D.C.
December 6, 2017
YouTube
 
This has to do with the child tax credit. We had a debate about it last week. I want to explain to everybody why it’s so important that we continue to focus on this irrespective of whether we agreed with the final outcome, and the numbers were high enough in the Senate bill. And I continue to believe that they were not, they are significantly better than the House positon on this matter and I want to explain why.
 
The loss of the personal exemption hits middle-income families to the tune of about $600 so that has to be made up for. And, if you add to that, the fact that over the last 15 years because of inflation, the value of the child tax credit has declined by over $300. That leads you to the conclusion that the break-even point for a child tax credit that deals with middle-income family hit and the erosion of the value of the credit due to inflation brings you to $1,900.
 
And as a result if you wanted to actually help families be better off than they are today, which is the goal of tax reform, the $2,000 amount in the Senate bill is basically the break-even point plus $100. And the House unfortunately in their bill only calls for $1,600.
 
The first of this motion instruct is to ensure that the increase in the child tax credit to our conferees instruct them that the increase in the child tax credit be no less – maybe it’s more-  but can be no less than the $2,000 that are in the Senate bill.
 
The second part which was the topic of our debate is the impact on low-income workers or workers in the lower part of the income scale. Firefighters, teachers, police officers, construction workers, welders, home health aides. These are working people, the backbone of our country. The people who suffered the most over the last 25 or 30 years as the economy has made some people very profitable but left far too many American workers behind.
 
Their anxieties, daily concerns, the challenges they are facing really underpin a lot anxiety in our country both electoral, political, and economic. And their primary tax liability is the payroll tax. You make $40,000 a year, the biggest chunk of the taxes you pay is payroll tax. And by the way when I hear people say that ‘people making $40,000 or $30,000 a year don’t pay taxes,’ they are wrong. They pay taxes. They take money out of your paycheck. You’ve paid a tax and it’s irrelevant whether it’s a payroll tax or an income tax. Those are taxes. And when I hear people say  that,  it’s offensive. Working people across the income scale pay taxes. And unfortunately that’s not recognized in a lot of the debates that are going on here about working people.
 
And so the second part of this instruction is asking – one of the things the Senate bill does do is it lowers the threshold upon which the tax credit begins to apply from $3,000 to $2,500. Again, not nearly enough but it’s certainly better than the House position. We can’t regress on that point. And so the second part of this instruction is it asks the conferees to ensure that the final bill expands benefits so that more low-income, low-wage parents, workers, will be able to benefit from the child tax credit.
 
I remain surprised that there is not more consensus to support the reality that we do need to do more to help working people in the this country and the child tax credit is one of the best tools to do it .And I sure hope that what comes back from that conference committee is as good or better than what we’ve put out from the Senate because if it’s worse, there’s going to be problems I imagine.