“Yeah,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told me after the address. “I think the argument’s over, [as to] which way we’re going on it.” But the conservatives in the audience may have heard something different—or not heard a certain word at all.
“He didn’t say refundable tax credit,” South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, a House Freedom Caucus member, told me. “There is a difference. He said ‘tax credit.’ … The plan that Sen. [Rand] Paul and I introduced said ‘tax credits,’ but it’s not an advanceable, refundable tax credit. I think it’s important to watch the tea leaves here.” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and Iowa Rep. Steve King, two other Freedom Caucus members, echoed Sanford’s close reading.
Maybe the needle wasn’t moved so much after all.