February 22, 2018

Latest on the tax bill: GOP making major changes

02 December 2017, 01:04 | Kara Nash

Trump presses Senate to pass tax bill in tweets

'We haven't had time to read it': Republicans defeat Democrat pleas to adjourn the vote on tax reform because they only had four hours to read the 500-page, small print bill

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on Friday said he believes Republicans have the votes to pass the bill.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, proposed an amendment to let homeowners deduct up to $10,000 in local property taxes on their federal returns.

Republicans appear to have the votes to pass the TCJA, but the situation is still fluid. Sen. Whether that is enough to bring her on board remains uncertain, but if Flake and every other Senate Republican save for Sen.

Lawmakers have said they expect the two bills to be merged into one, which will require approval by each chamber, but there is still a lingering chance that the House will take the Senate bill in the end.

However, even with McCain's vote, Republicans can't afford to lose more than two votes from their caucus, or the bill fails.

Bob Corker and Jeff Flake: The most unlikely votes for McConnell to get. The vast majority of US businesses, big and small, are taxed this way. Sen.

To pass the bill, Republicans were forced to make significant last-minute changes, including some to a deduction for certain types of businesses. GOP leaders have been making major changes up to the last minute, including one that would roll back some of the tax cuts after six years to appease deficit hawks.

"But here's what I think is important", he went on, "our Democratic colleagues basically say you get zero economic growth with tax cuts, and I think that position has been emphatically repudiated by this report". After holding out for almost an hour during the vote, Corker, Flake and Johnson eventually joined fellow Republicans to scuttle the Democratic proposal.

Amid a whirl of meetings and dramatic votes Thursday evening, the Senate GOP leaders were rewriting the bill behind closed doors.

The bill the House passed last month differs in several ways from the Senate version. If leaders could win over Collins and there were no other defectors, Corker and Flake could oppose the measure, and it would still be approved.

At stake is a top priority for Trump and a Republican Party that considers passage of the measure the best way to preserve the GOP's congressional majorities in next year's midterm elections. The vast majority of USA businesses, big and small, are taxed this way. Sen. The amendment would raise how much these businesses could deduct off the top of their tax bill, from the 17.4 percent now in the Senate bill to 23 percent.

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Corker, who announced he will not seek reelection next year, wanted to add a "trigger mechanism" to the bill that would automatically increase taxes if the bill failed to boost the economy and generate enough revenue to cover the estimated deficit expansion. The pass-through deduction, a major concern for Senators Daines and Ron Johnson, has been moved to 23 percent from 17.4 percent, according to CNBC.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had expressed confidence early in the day, but he has little margin for error with a 52-48 Republican majority. Vice President Mike Pence would break a tie.

Cornyn said the bill will have "alternative, frankly, tax increases we don't want to do" to address deficit concerns.

The role of Flake and Corker in the tax overhaul is causing consternation among fellow Republican Senators.

Corker has pushed to add automatic tax increases in future years if the package doesn't raise as much revenue as projected.

After months of negotiations and false starts, Republicans finally seem prepared to pass their most sweeping rewrite of the US tax code in three decades.

The sweeping package would slash corporate rates to 20%, a level not seen since the Great Depression, and reduce individual brackets, though studies show the benefits will flow mainly to wealthier Americans rather than lower- and middle-income households.

The tax cuts for individuals in the Senate plan would expire in 2026 while the corporate tax cuts would be permanent.

The Senate bill would need to be merged with a House-passed measure, which leaders hope to quickly finish in the days ahead.

Because the House passed a different tax-slashing bill, the probable effect of Senate approval - provided the House doesn't pass the Senate's version - would be a conference committee in which lawmakers from both chambers fashion a compromise that could include elements of either bill.

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