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Thursday November 23rd, 2017 8:12AM

The Latest: Panel blocks bigger benefits for raising kids

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Republican tax overhaul legislation (all times local):

7 p.m.

The House Ways and Means Committee has blocked Democratic efforts to provide bigger tax benefits for parents' costs of raising children and adopting kids.

The panel voted 23-16 along party lines to reject Democratic amendments that would have made changes to the Republican tax plan. The committee is working on legislation that Republicans are driving to push through Congress and to President Donald Trump's desk by Christmas.

The GOP legislation, which would bring the first major overhaul of the U.S. tax system in 30 years, repeals the adoption tax credit.

It also includes an increase in the child tax credit, from $1,000 to $1,600 per child. Republicans defeated the amendment by Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez of California that would have added a $3,600 credit for families with children under age 6.

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6:25 p.m.

Senate tax writers are considering significant changes to the House Republican tax bill.

Senate Republicans would eliminate the deduction for state and local income, sales and property taxes. The House bill would only let taxpayers deduct property taxes, limiting the amount to $10,000.

The Senate measure would retain the medical expense deduction, which the House plan eliminates. And the Senate would retain today's seven personal income tax brackets, not collapse them into four like the House bill.

The Senate bill also keeps the requirement that people buy insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law. The House bill does that too.

The measure was described by Republicans speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. They said the provisions might change before the bill is released late this week.

— Alan Fram

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6:20 p.m.

Senate Democrats who met with White House officials Tuesday aren't buying President Donald Trump's argument that the emerging GOP tax bill is "terrible for rich people."

Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown says Trump called into a meeting with top White House adviser Gary Cohn and made that claim to several Democrats.

But Brown says the Democrats adamantly disagree, telling reporters "this bill is clearly overwhelmingly serving the rich." Brown says Trump likes Democratic ideas such as boosting the earned income and child tax credits for working families, but GOP leaders don't seem interested in them.

West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin says Cohn and other White House aides were receptive to Democratic ideas. And Manchin says he doesn't think the House GOP tax bill is "the president's bill."

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3:35 p.m.

An influential conservative congressman predicts "there's no way" the House tax bill will include a repeal of a mandate in President Barack Obama's health care law that individuals buy health insurance.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows says GOP leaders are concerned that mixing the tax overhaul measure and a key element of the party's failed health care bill could complicate the tax drive.

But the North Carolina Republican says House Republicans would gladly embrace the idea if the Senate were to add it. The GOP health bill collapsed in the Senate.

Repealing the individual mandate could raise $400 billion or so over a decade to defray the cost of some of the $1.5 trillion tax bill's cost. But it would also lead to millions of people dropping out of the individual health care market.

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3:10 p.m.

The Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee has beat back Democratic efforts to keep the tax break for people paying state and local levies.

The panel voted 23-16 on party lines to reject the Democrats' amendments. They sought to restore the federal deduction for state and local income taxes that would be eliminated by the Republican legislation and to remove the $10,000 cap on the deduction for state and local property taxes.

The restrictions on the state and local deductions in the GOP tax plan have angered Republican lawmakers from high-tax states like New York and New Jersey.

Another Democratic amendment that would have shut down the plan's tax cut if it increased the $20 trillion national debt in two years also failed.

The committee is working on the legislation as Republican leaders drive to push it through Congress and to President Donald Trump's desk by Christmas. Senate tax-writers are expected to bring forward their own bill in the coming days.

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11:35 a.m.

A House Republican is stating the political necessity for Republicans to deliver tax overhaul legislation this year.

New York Rep. Chris Collins said Tuesday, "My donors are basically saying 'get it done or don't ever call me again.'"

President Donald Trump and the Republicans need to show a tax bill as a major legislative accomplishment to protect their majorities in next year's elections.

Meanwhile, Democrats on the House's tax-writing committee plan to propose a battery of revisions to the Republican tax overhaul bill that focus on middle-class concerns like childcare and home buying.

As the committee works on the legislation, an initial amendment proposed by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would shut down the plan's tax cuts if in two years the $20 trillion national debt had increased.

The amendments, without chance of approval by the Republican-dominated Ways and Means Committee, focus attention on the issue of whether the middle class would benefit from the tax plan.

___

4:50 a.m.

A key House panel is digging into work on the sweeping GOP tax plan that President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are counting on to protect their majorities in elections a year from now.

The Ways and Means Committee started debating the proposed legislation on Monday with nearly eight hours of heated argument and accusations.

Republicans say the plan would bring needed tax relief to the middle class, kick-start the lagging economy and create jobs. Democrats say it's a tax-cut bounty for big corporations and the wealthy.

Late Monday, the panel approved late changes to the bill. The revision restored the tax exemption for employees receiving child care benefits from their companies, but also put new requirements on a tax credit used by working people of modest means.

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