Bill Nelson slams tax bill; Marco Rubio makes final pitch for child credit - Florida Politics

Bill Nelson slams tax bill; Marco Rubio makes final pitch for child credit

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson took to the floor of the Senate Wednesday to slam the Republican tax reform bill and Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio followed him a few minutes later to make a last pitch for the childcare tax credit he’s been seeking to make the reform more “pro-worker.”

The Senate is debating the bill Wednesday afternoon.

“What we’ve done before and have now in front of us is not what the American people want, it’s what large corporations want – large multinational corporations who get their corporate tax rate cut from 35 percent to 20 percent. It’s what the well-to-do want. That’s what’s before us,” Nelson declared. “Now, let me explain. Anyone who says that this bill is all for the middle class is not giving the full story. What they are not telling you is that the tax cuts for the middle class expire in seven or eight years.”

In his turn on the floor, Rubio said there are a lot of good things in the bill but that it needs the child tax credit toward payroll taxes that he and Sen. Mike Lee proposed.

“I hope that in tax reform we would do what we should try to do in all of our policies, that is come up with ideas that are both pro-growth, and pro-worker. There are a lot of good ideas in this tax bill but we can make it better,” Rubio said.

Rubio and Lee’s proposal would reduce the corporate tax rate to 22 percent, rather than the 20 percent in the current bill. Rubio argued that 22 percent was just as good for growth, because it would put the United States in the same competitive position internationally as a 20 percent rate.

And the revenue savings from the difference, he argued, would “allow us to do the pro-worker reform that we desperately need.”

“Here’s what it allows us to do,” Rubio continued. “It allows us to change the child tax credit in the current bill to help working families even more.

“But the one thing I want to emphasize, is: Who does this help?” he challenged.

Rubio said he’s heard criticism of their proposal as a form of welfare, and he passionately responded to such claims.

“I find that offensive,” Rubio said. “I find it offensive not because I am offended by people who need the help and are in the safety net programs because they’ve come upon difficult times, but because the people we are trying to help are not on government assistance. They’re workers. You have to be working to get this credit. The credit applies to your tax liability.”

Nelson argued that any breaks for the middle- and working-class are going away.

“They’re not telling you all the other ways that CBO says that this bill will hurt ordinary Americans. So, for example, beginning in 2019, CBO says that anyone making under $30,000 a year will take a hit from this bill if it becomes law. Then in 2021, anyone making under $40,000 will start to feel the pinch. And then in 2027, anyone making under $75,000 is actually going to get a tax increase,” Nelson said.

Nelson also argued that the tax reform would hurt small businesses, cause health care premiums to go up 10 percent, force 13 million people to lose health insurance, and that it is not the jobs bill that Rubio and Republicans declared it to be.

Nelson also decried the partisan foundation of the bill, saying that’s not how tax reform worked the last time, in 1986, when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Isn’t it time to revert to what we did back in 1986, where we came together in bipartisan consensus?” Nelson implored. “As long as there is a will, there is a way. And what I hope in the midst of this extreme toxic atmosphere of high partisanship that we might find a will to cut through that and say indeed there is way and it is a bipartisan way. We just need willing partners on both sides. I pray that that will occur between now and Christmas before we do something that we are going to regret.”

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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