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Jason Smith

House Dems in the spotlight on tax deal

We’ll find out this morning whether key House Democrats plan to support the bipartisan tax deal that Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) struck with Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) earlier this week.

When Ways and Means kicks off its markup of the Smith bill at 9 a.m., expect Democrats to make plenty of noise about wanting more from the package — particularly on the child tax credit.

But they’re not ruling out support for legislation that would devote $33 billion to helping families while also expanding business tax benefits, an affordable housing incentive and disaster relief.

Ways and Means ranking member Richie Neal (D-Mass.) said he’s going in with an “open mind” and will “see where the flow goes” during the markup, but he wouldn’t say definitively how he’ll vote.

Still, Neal credited House Democrats with wedging some priorities into the deal, saying there’s not much more that could have been done with slim majorities in both chambers.

“We feel as though there’s a work product here,” Neal said Thursday evening. “We’ll vote accordingly tomorrow.”

Expect those amendments: Before the final vote, Neal said Democrats would have some “pretty vigorous amendments” including one to expand the child tax credit further. He said that proposal would make the point that it’s what Democrats will do if they win in November.

Democratic support will be critical to passing the deal given the likelihood that any House vote will be held under a suspension of the rules, which would require a two-thirds majority for passage. Even if Democrats support the measure, expect to keep hearing about their priority program, the child tax credit, from here on out.

— Laura Weiss

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