On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., took the Senate floor to urge expanding the child tax credit be included in its tax reform efforts. Rubio and U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, are backing legislation to expand the child tax credit. Rubio said the following on the Senate floor:
I cannot imagine a single person here voting for a tax reform package that does nothing on the child tax credit and thereby raises taxes on a couple making $55,000 a year with two children by a penny, not to mention $700 a year.
What if we do less like some are suggesting? Let's just raise the tax credit to $500, but let's not make it refundable against payroll tax. They'll get a tax cut of about $263. And when you compare that to some of the tax cuts you’re going to see in other parts of this tax reform, I would say that’s not nearly enough. It's certainly not enough to make a difference.
But what if you do this: what if you double the value from $1,000 to $2,000 of the tax credit and you make it refundable towards payroll tax. That couple, with those two children, will have a tax cut of $1,263. Now that doesn't solve all their problems, but it makes a difference.
I can give you other examples. Let me use, you know, others will get to in the years to come-- in the weeks to come and days to come, but let's just take a family like the one I grew up in: a bartender and maid.
The median income of the bartender and a maid is about $42,000, $43,000 a year. They have three children. Without anything in the child tax credit - we just leave it like it is and do the framework - they are going to pay $1,276 more in taxes.
Can you imagine a tax reform plan that raises taxes on a bartender and a maid, with three children, making $42,000, $43,000 a year and it raises their taxes by almost $1300 a year, who here is going to vote for that would? I dare you. You won’t. And actually I don't dare you. I don’t want you to vote for that. And that’s not what we are going to do.
So let's just do the symbolic thing, raise it $500 but make it nonrefundable. They will get a tax cut of about the same - $233. You might as well keep it because they’re not going to make a difference.
But what if we doubled the value of the child tax credit and made it refundable toward payroll tax? Then their tax cut is $1,733. That's a tax cut. And that’s the direction we have to go.
And I’ve heard some people say, “we shouldn't make it refundable, the payroll tax, that’s just more people not paying anything in taxes.” They’re talking about the income tax. Let me tell you something: that's the way people here talk and think, that's the way economists think, that’s the way accountants might think, but for people that work and get a paycheck every week or every two weeks, when they get that paycheck it shows that money came out of their paycheck. It doesn't matter if that money went into income or payroll tax, that's the money they earned that you took away using the power of government. They are paying taxes, whether they are paying income tax or payroll tax, they are paying taxes. If you want to help people who are working but don't make enough, then the only way -- and they are trying to raise a family, the child tax credit is the best way to do it.
And so as we move forward, I truly hope that some of these voices I hear treating the child tax credit as some sort of welfare program or giveaway or gimmick will reconsider that attitude, will reconsider that attitude. Because a child tax credit only applies to families that are working that make less than a certain amount of money and that are raising children, our future taxpayers.
And I'm going to ask this: if our tax code does not help working families, given all of the challenges they face, that is inexcusable, how can we pass a tax reform that is loaded up on how we're going to help the business sector - and it should. It will create jobs and help get higher pay down the road -how can we have spending programs that spends billions upon billions of dollars to help the poor but do nothing for the backbone of our economy? The one thing we all say we take extraordinary pride in, the working class, the working people of this country. There is no way we can have a tax plan that doesn’t do those things. No way.
And if we do head in that direction, that will convince millions of Americans that they were right all along, that the people in charge this in this country in both parties and the people who advised them don't care about, look down on and have no ideas about what life is like for people like them who work hard every day, who seek nothing from the government other than a fair chance. That’s all they want . And all I'm advocating for is that we allow them to keep more of their own money so they can provide for their families and the better future and rebuild those working class values and that working class backbone that I believe that’s what made America so great.
So I look forward to continuing to work in this direction. We better do something real and we better do it right. Otherwise I don't know how you pass tax reform. I'm hopeful that's where we're headed. I know we still have some work to do. And I know tomorrow is only a starting point.
But I'll repeat once again: any tax plan that doesn't cut taxes on working families with children is not one we're supporting. And so that I hope that's the direction we will move in.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was first elected to the Senate in 2010.
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