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On tax vote eve, pro-GOP group to make 1 million robocalls

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., meets with reporters to answer questions on the tax bill and sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. Ryan says Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold has "made the right decision" to retire at the end of his term amid allegations of sexual harassment.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., meets with reporters to answer questions on the tax bill and sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. Ryan says Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold has "made the right decision" to retire at the end of his term amid allegations of sexual harassment. AP

A group closely aligned with House leadership is helping with the closing argument on the Republican tax bill, making 1 million robocalls to urge House Republicans to vote for the bill, McClatchy has learned.

It’s the latest pro-tax bill effort from American Action Network, which has spent more than any other outside group in the tax debate as special interest groups have spent millions to bombard television viewers and web browsers with ads.

American Action’s effort, totaling more than $24 million, has included TV, radio and digital advertising, along with direct mail, and mobile billboards in over 60 congressional districts across the country.

With the House and Senate expected to vote next week on the tax bill with the aim of sending it to President Donald Trump by Christmas, a million households in 29 congressional districts from Florida to California can expect to get a message urging them to thank their House member for voting for the bill.

"AAN applauds all the hard work and countless hours members of Congress have devoted to the cause so far, and urges lawmakers to push pro-growth tax reform over the finish line before the new year,” said Corry Bliss, the network’s executive director.

The call claims the “average middle-class family” will receive a $1,200 tax cut, though independent analysts have said the amount differs by taxpayer and that any tax cut would shrink over the next decade.

The calls to Republican districts note that the House will vote on final passage next week and that lawmakers “will vote to cut middle class taxes.” And it urges listeners to “please call” their representatives and thank them for their vote.

All 29 of the targeted lawmakers voted for the House version last month, including some members from California, New York and New Jersey — high-tax states that have been worried about the plan’s treatment of state and local taxes. A final version of the tax bill would scale back the deduction for state and local taxes, allowing families to deduct only up to a total of $10,000 in property and income taxes.

Delivering on the tax bill is a priority for House and Senate Republicans eager for a legislative win that they can trumpet on the campaign trail. Trump said Thursday he believes lawmakers will succeed, even as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told Senate leadership that he intends to vote against the tax bill if the child tax credit isn’t expanded.

“I think we will get there,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “It will be the greatest Christmas present that a lot of people have ever received.”

Lesley Clark: 202-383-6054, @lesleyclark

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