Marco Rubio goes off-script on GOP tax plan

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s office on Tuesday stood by the senator’s statement that there’s no evidence that the GOP tax plan’s lowered corporate tax rate has significantly helped American workers — a key selling point of the massive legislation.

“There is still a lot of thinking on the right that if big corporations are happy, they’re going to take the money they’re saving and reinvest it in American workers,” Rubio told The Economist last week in comments that were picked up by The Washington Post on Monday. “In fact, they bought back shares, a few gave out bonuses; there’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker.”

Asked to comment Tuesday, Olivia Perez-Cubas, a spokeswoman for Rubio, said the Florida Republican has “pushed for a better balance in the tax law between tax cuts for big businesses and families, as he’s done for years. As he said when the tax law passed, cutting the corporate tax rate will make America a more competitive place to do business, but he tried to balance that with an even larger child tax credit for working Americans.” Perez-Cubas did not say whether the plan would boost workers’ wages or increase employment.

During negotiations for the tax cuts recently passed by Congress, Rubio initially withheld his support, saying he wanted to expand the child tax credit to be more refundable, something he argued would help lower-income people. In a revised version of the bill, which included a compromise on Rubio’s child tax credit expansion, Rubio voted for the package.

In his interview with The Economist, the 2016 Republican presidential candidate admits that in his campaign geared toward optimism, he missed the “anxiety and anger” that disaffected Donald Trump voters latched onto.

Rubio said he’s working on a new “reform conservative movement” which will be “devoted to addressing the economic disruption and social disaffection that the President vigorously described.”

The reforms could include bolstering to the child tax credit Rubio brought up during the tax negotiations, provisions for paid family leave, education reform, emphasis on vocational skills, and “a more flexible benefit system, to help the retraining of disrupted workers.”

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to add additional context to the aspect of the GOP tax plan that Rubio criticized.