Schumer calls for GOP to delay tax bill after Alabama election 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerWith lives at stake, Congress must start acting on health care To make the House of Representatives work again, make it bigger Reforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain MORE (D-N.Y.) is demanding that Republicans delay a vote on their tax plan following Tuesday's special election in Alabama.

"We Senate Democrats are calling on Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell15 senators miss votes despite McConnell's criticism of absentees Overnight Health Care: Azar defends approach on drug rebates | Trump presses Senate to act quickly on opioid crisis | Kentucky governor's Medicaid lawsuit tossed Dem senator introduces proposal to rein in Trump on security clearances MORE to hit pause on his tax bill and not hold a final vote until Doug Jones is sworn in to the Senate," he told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday.

He added that "it would be wrong for Senate Republicans to jam through this tax bill without giving the newly elected senator from Alabama the opportunity to cast his vote."

Democrat Doug Jones won the special election, defeating GOP candidate Roy Moore, who was facing several accusations of pursuing relationships with teenagers when he was in his 30s. 

Jones's win will narrow the GOP majority in the Senate down to a single seat, 51-49, complicating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) ability to pass legislation.

Democratic senators and progressive outside groups immediately called on the tax bill to be delayed. 

But Jones isn't expected to impact the current timeline for tax reform. 

Republicans want to vote on their tax bill next week, and Alabama officials have said they will not certify the Senate race results until Dec. 26. That means Jones might not be seated until January.

Schumer, asked about when he wanted Doug Jones to be seated, said it should happen "as soon as possible," but noted that Alabama law would delay it until late December.

Schumer added that the Alabama Senate vote was about Moore's behavior as well as dissatisfaction over President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump threatens ex-intel official's clearance, citing comments on CNN Protesters topple Confederate monument on UNC campus Man wanted for threatening to shoot Trump spotted in Maryland MORE and GOP policies.

"It was not simply Roy Moore's conduct. ... There's a great discontent about the way Donald Trump has conducted his presidency. And there's a great deal of discontent about the policies the Republicans are pursuing," he said.

McConnell also said on Tuesday that Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump to GOP: I will carry you GOP strategist: Trump will be anchor around Republicans' necks in general election Trump: I ‘destroy' careers of Republicans who say bad things about me MORE (R-Ala.), who Moore defeated in the primary, would stay in the Senate through the end of the current session. 

Asked about calls for the tax bill to be delayed, a spokesman for McConnell noted the timeline for the tax plan was scheduled before the Alabama election.

"We announced our vote timing before the election, not as a result of the election," said Don Stewart.

Democrats can't block the tax bill on their own. Republicans are using special budget rules, known as reconciliation, to pass it with a simple majority and avoid a potential Democratic filibuster.

Schumer didn't discuss whether Democrats would use any procedural tactics to try to slow down debate on the Senate floor or stage late-night floor protests to try to build pressure on Republicans.

"You'll have to ask them," he told reporters, when asked if had any indication they would be able to win over the three Republicans needed to delay or kill the tax bill.

Democrats pointed to comments from then-Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWith lives at stake, Congress must start acting on health care GOP’s midterm strategy takes shape Battle of the billionaires drives Nevada contest MORE (D-Nev.) in the wake of Scott Brown's 2010 election in Massachusetts.

"We’re going to wait until the new senator arrives until we do anything more on health care," Reid said the day after Brown was elected.

The Massachusetts election was largely viewed as a referendum on health care, and some Democratic senators also backed holding off on the legislation until Brown was sworn in.

--This report was updated at 11:03 a.m.