Top Senate Republicans Look To Pass Tax Bill This Week

Photo: Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein

Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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Despite a number of Republican senators expressing hesitations about the Senate GOP’s tax reform legislation, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said he’s hopeful the upper chamber will vote to advance the measure as soon as Wednesday.

The vote to advance the bill is called the motion to proceed, which is required before the Senate can vote yes or no on the bill itself.

“The Budget Committee is looking at it tomorrow afternoon and then hopefully by Wednesday or so we’ll get it on the floor,” he told reporters Monday.

While the Texas Republican is optimistic they will garner the votes needed to pass the legislation, leadership may be facing an uphill battle with seven GOP senators remaining on the fence.

Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Jerry Moran of Kansas said they’re concerned the bill will lead to a dramatic increase of the nation’s deficit while Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana said they fear the impact it will have on small businesses. Maine Sen. Susan Collins said she has reservations over language repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

Corker said “it’s very possible” he won’t vote for the measure in committee without the addition of a trigger or backstop to control additions to the debt and deficit.

“I’m not threatening anything, I’m just saying that it’s very important for me to know that we’ve got this resolved,” he told reporters.

Daines said he’s worried the legislation currently favors big businesses, arguing he can’t vote for a bill that doesn’t make good on their promise to create high=paying jobs and stimulate economic growth.

“I want to see changes to the tax cut bill that ensure main street businesses are not put at a competitive disadvantage against large corporations. Two-thirds of our job creation comes from main street businesses and I’m doing what I can to make sure all of America is stronger and more competitive,” he said. “Before I can support this bill, this improvement needs to be made. I remain optimistic and will continue working with my colleagues to find a solution.”

Cornyn’s call for a vote this week comes one day ahead of President Donald Trump’s scheduled visit to Capitol Hill. The president is expected to meet with Senate Republicans during their Tuesday lunch to discuss the bill ahead of meeting with leaders from both parties later in the day.

Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy said he’s confident the bill will pass before the ending of the year, adding he’s disappointed the bill didn’t come to the floor last week.

“I think it was a mistake not to do that [vote last week], but I just work here I don’t run this place,” he said. “I think we ought to work day and night in terms of letting everybody offer their suggestions and their tweaks and then I think it’s time to vote.”

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