U.S. President Donald Trump continued to tout the Republican tax bill Saturday, saying "everybody's going to benefit" if it is signed into law.
"But I think the greatest benefit is going to be for jobs and for the middle class, middle income," Trump said to reporters on the White House South Lawn before departing for the presidential Camp David retreat in Maryland.
Republican Senate and House negotiators finalized a final version Friday of their compromise $1.5 trillion tax bill, after appeasing Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who demanded an expansion of the child tax credit that provides benefits for low-income families.
Republican lawmakers hammered out differences Wednesday between the House and Senate versions, and both chambers of Congress plan to vote on the final bill early next week, with the intent of submitting it to President Donald Trump for his signature before Christmas.
Rubio said late Friday he would vote for the bill after saying one day earlier he would not support it unless it includes a more generous child tax credit, which has been beneficial to lower-income families by partially offsetting the expenses of raising children.
The bill doubles the current child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child and allows parents to get a refund of up to $1,400 if the credit is greater than their federal income tax liability.
No Democratic support
No Democrats have publicly expressed their support for the legislation, which they have attacked as a giveaway to corporations and the wealthiest of taxpayers, including Trump, a billionaire.
The measure would cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, heavily weighted toward lower corporate taxation, and perhaps add $1 trillion or more to the country's long-term $20 trillion debt obligations to investors and foreign governments such as China – the largest owner of U.S. debt.
When asked about the debt, Trump responded by saying a new tax law will encourage inflows of overseas money. "This is going to bring money in. As an example, we think four trillion dollars will come flowing back into the country. That's money that's overseas, that's stuck there for years and years."
Trump administration officials say millions of individual taxpayers, but not everyone, would see their annual tax obligation to the government cut, in many cases by a few hundred dollars, or in the case of wealthy taxpayers, by thousands of dollars.
In the final compromise bill, the individual tax rate for the highest income earners would be cut from 39.6 percent to 37 percent.
The country's corporate tax rate, now at 35 percent and among the highest in the industrialized world, would be cut substantially to 21 percent.
With Democrat Doug Jones winning a special Senate election Tuesday in Alabama, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer has asked that the final tax vote be delayed until January after Jones is sworn in. But Republicans appear intent on voting before then while they have one more Republican vote in the Senate.
An original version of the Senate bill was approved 51-49 with Rubio’s support. So if Rubio votes against the bill, it could still pass, though with a narrower margin.
If approved and signed into law, the tax legislation would be the first major legislative achievement of Trump's nearly 11-month presidency after he and Republicans failed earlier this year dismantle national health care policies championed by former president Barack Obama.