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  • Taxes

Republican negotiators slightly increased the refundable portion of the expanded child tax credit in their tax plan, raising it to $1,400 in hopes of winning back Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) support ahead of next week’s vote.

Rubio announced Thursday he was withholding support after negotiators ignored his push to make the expanded tax credit, which increases from the current $1,000 to $2,000 in the proposed bill, fully refundable for lower- and moderate-income filers.

The refundable portion in the original bill was $1,100.

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks to a reporter in Washington. (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks to a reporter in Washington. (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says he is currently opposed to the GOP tax plan because it fails to include his proposed enhancements to the child tax credit, leaving leaders without crucial support ahead of next week’s expected vote.

Republicans can only lose two GOP senators from their slim 52-48 majority as they push the plan forward under special budget rules to prevent a Democratic filibuster.

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday altered his planned Israel trip so he could be on hand, if needed, to cast a tie-breaking vote.

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(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

The White House sent a clear signal Thursday to the defeated Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama: It’s time to concede.

Roy Moore refused to concede the race on Tuesday night when Doug Jones, the Democrat, was declared the winner. Election night results show Jones winning by about 1.5 percentage points, three times more than the state’s standard for a recount. Although a few absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted, there’s no indication they would change the result.

On Wednesday, Moore notably did not call to congratulate Jones — even as President Trump and other leading Republicans did. Instead, he released a video declaring “the battle rages on.”

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House Speaker Paul D. Ryan speaks earlier this year in Washington.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan speaks earlier this year in Washington.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan shot down suggestions Thursday that he might soon be retiring.

Stories often circulate that party leaders, especially the House speaker, are stepping aside. Ryan’s tenure has been as rocky as that of his predecessor, Rep. John Boehner, who abruptly resigned in 2015 amid GOP infighting.

Asked Thursday if he would be leaving, Ryan answered a simple “no,” as he left his weekly press conference in the Capitol. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, and other Republican lawmakers. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, and other Republican lawmakers. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Republican leaders on Wednesday agreed on a revised plan to cut taxes that would lower the corporate rate from 35% to 21% and drop the top individual rate for the richest Americans to 37%, according to GOP senators and others briefed on the deal.

The tentative accord marked a significant step in the Republican push to have a tax bill on President Trump’s desk by Christmas. Leaders did not release details of the compromise or the text of a final bill as negotiations continued.

“It’s critically important for Congress to quickly pass these historic tax cuts,” Trump said Wednesday, promising that Americans could begin to reap the benefits of the plan as early as February, if passed.

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Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold won't seek reelection next year, two Republicans said Thursday, adding his name to the list of lawmakers leaving Congress amid sexual harassment allegations that have cost powerful men their jobs in politics, the arts and other fields.

The accusations against Farenthold surfaced in 2014, when a former aide sued him alleging sexually suggestive comments and behavior and said she'd been fired after she complained. The lawmaker said he engaged in no wrongdoing and the case was settled in 2015.

But the House Ethics Committee said last week that it would investigate Farenthold after congressional sources said he'd paid an $84,000 settlement using taxpayers' money. Though Farenthold said he'd reimburse the Treasury Department, such payments have drawn public criticism from people saying lawmakers should use their own money for such settlements.

(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence will postpone his trip to Israel and Egypt next week by a few days in case he is needed to break a tie vote in the U.S. Senate on the Republican tax cut bill, his office announced.

Pence is scheduled to address the Israeli Knesset on the first major U.S. visit to Israel since President Trump declared on Dec. 6 that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

That broke with decades of U.S. policy and international consensus that viewed the holy city’s political status as one that should be in negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, who both claim the city as their capital.

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Roy Moore continued to refuse to concede defeat to Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama's Senate race, issuing a statement urging supporters to “stand against those who would take from us our country.”

In a video statement posted late Wednesday, the former state Supreme Court chief justice declared that  “immorality sweeps our land,” and railed against abortion, same-sex marriage and “the right of a man to claim to be a woman, and vice versa.”

“We are indeed in a struggle to preserve our republic, our civilization, and our religion and to set free a suffering humanity.  And the battle rages on,” he said. “Today, we no longer recognize the universal truth that God is the author of our life and liberty. Abortion, sodomy and materialism have taken the place of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

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(Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

Every election since she was 16, Catrena Norris Carter has gone door to door, urging black Alabama voters to the polls.

In the months leading up to Tuesday's U.S. Senate race, the community activist and a band of mostly black women registered college students to vote, waved signs on street corners and egged on fellow African Americans at churches, sororities and even football stadiums to be sure to cast their ballots.

"Hey, we worked our butts off," said Norris Carter, 49, an organizer with Vote or Die, a get-out-the-vote group that canvassed on Democrat Doug Jones' behalf in Birmingham, Montgomery and black rural communities. "A win's been a long time coming."