Finance

Rubio pitches boost to child tax credit in Breitbart op-ed

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said lawmakers should increase the Child Tax Credit in an op-ed for Breitbart on GOP plans for tax reform, defending the deduction in a website influential among President Trump, his advisers and political base.

Rubio called the $1,000 per child tax credit for parents “the cornerstone of pro-family economic policy,” pitching the deduction as an essential boost to working families.

“Families are the fundamental building blocks of our communities,” Rubio wrote, “and the health of our society depends on families being able to provide safe and secure homes, raise active citizens, and love their children unconditionally in ways no other social institution can.”

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Rubio suggested raising the tax credit to $2,500 per qualifying child, applied to both income and payroll taxes, adapted from a proposal he co-sponsored with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). To make up for the loss of federal revenue, Rubio said Congress should eliminate loopholes for the wealthy and “special interests,” and take measures to ensure only legal U.S. residents get tax benefits.

Rubio’s op-ed in a prominent pro-Trump media outlet comes as Republicans shift their attention from healthcare to tax reform. Breitbart is widely read by Trump’s base, and the senator’s pitch can be seen as a way to shape Trump’s thinking on tax-reform priorities.

Breitbart was highly critical of Rubio during last year’s election. The outlet routinely ripped the Florida Republican for his previous support of the failed 2013 Senate immigration reform bill — derided in Breitbart as “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants — and his criticism of Trump’s immigration rhetoric.

Rubio and several other GOP lawmakers also met in June with Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser and the president’s elder daughter, about the child tax credit and paid family leave.

“@IvankaTrump, thank you for a great meeting to share ideas about how we best can do #taxreform to benefit American working families,” Rubio tweeted after the meeting.

The White House, Treasury Department and GOP lawmakers are hashing out the details of a reform plan after agreeing to basic principles late last month.

The House tax reform blueprint released last summer proposed combining the child tax credit and personal exemptions for dependents into a $1,500 credit. The White House expressed support for a child tax credit in a one-page overview of tax reform priorities in April, without providing specifics.

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