Tax bill change wins thumbs up from Rubio, ailing senators expected to be back in time to vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has decided to support his party’s $1.5 trillion tax bill and his yes vote boosts GOP leaders’  hopese that they”ll be able to push their prized measure through Congress next week.

Rubio had said he would oppose the legislation unless his colleagues made the per child tax credit more generous for low-income families. On Friday, Republicans said the final legislation would do just that. Lawmakers said the bill would let low-earners using the credit get up to $1,400 in IRS refunds if they owe little or no taxes. That’s up from $1,100 in the earlier version.

Rubio tweeted that the change is “a solid step toward broader reforms which are both Pro-Growth and Pro-Worker.”

Rubio spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said that meant the Florida senator would vote yes.

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Republicans also welcomed news that ailing senators John McCain and Thad Cochran should be able to cast their votes for the GOP tax package next week.

That word came from fellow GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who told reporters on Friday: “All of our thoughts and prayers go out to Sen. McCain. He’s having a tough time. I am told he will be here next week and voting. And more importantly we all wish him the best of health.”

McCain, 81, is hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center. The Arizona senator is being treated for side effects of his treatments for brain cancer.

Thad Cochran, 80, of Mississippi had a non-melanoma lesion removed from his nose earlier this week but also is expected to vote when the tax bill comes up. 

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 “I’m told he will be here,” Portman said.