FEATURED:

GOP racing to tax votes

GOP racing to tax votes
© Greg Nash

Republicans racing for the finish line said they could hold final votes in the House and Senate on their tax-cut bill as early as Tuesday, finishing off the first major legislative victory for President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynLawmakers feel pressure on guns Kasich’s campaign website tones down gun language after Florida shooting Murphy: Trump’s support for background check bill shows gun politics ‘shifting rapidly’ MORE (R-Texas) told reporters the chamber could vote on the bill Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning as two previously undecided GOP senators, Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework Prison sentencing bill advances over Sessions objections Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation MORE of Utah and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday MORE of Maine, said they would back it.

While both were expected to support the bill, their public declarations added to the sense of inevitability surrounding the bill.

ADVERTISEMENT
The House is expected to vote Tuesday.

 

The pre-Christmas votes will follow new reports that say the tax plan’s costs could exceed $2 trillion over 10 years before factoring in economic growth if the bill’s temporary tax cuts are made permanent. That’s significantly higher than the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that the bill as written would cost $1.46 trillion.

Most of the tax cuts for individuals expire after 2025, and some other provisions in the bill are also temporary, while the reduction in the corporate tax rate is permanent. Some of the tax changes are temporary in order to comply with budget rules that prevent the bill from adding to the deficit after 10 years if it is to avoid a filibuster from Democrats.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan deficit hawk group, estimated that making the tax cuts permanent would increase the bill’s cost to $2 trillion to $2.2 trillion using traditional scoring and would result in the bill costing $1.5 trillion to $1.7 trillion after accounting for economic growth.

The right-leaning Tax Foundation estimated that making the plan permanent would cost $2.7 trillion before accounting for economic growth and $1.4 trillion after doing so.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyTrump gets recommendation for steep curbs on imported steel, risking trade war Business groups pressing for repeal of ObamaCare employer mandate Watchdog: IRS issued bonuses to employees with conduct issues MORE (R-Texas) pointed out that the Tax Foundation also indicated that the tax bill would boost economic growth, and was optimistic that the legislation would be successful in strengthening the economy and the U.S. business climate.

“We just finished eight years with Washington spending your money. How about we try eight years of you spending your money. And then a future Congress will decide which one works best for the country,” he told reporters Monday. “I’m convinced they’ll decide that stronger growth and a far more competitive tax code means continuing those permanently.”

When the House passed its version of the tax bill last month in a 227-205 tally, only 13 Republicans voted against it, mostly due to concerns about its curbs to the state and local tax (SALT) deduction.

The House-passed bill would have eliminated the deductions for state and local income and sales taxes and capped the property tax deduction at $10,000. The final bill is more generous, capping the total amount of state and local tax deductions households can take at $10,000 in a year but allowing them to deduct their property taxes as well as either their income or sales taxes.

Even with that change, some GOP lawmakers in high-tax states who voted against the House bill have said they plan to vote against the bill.

“The overall impact of changes to the SALT deduction will accelerate the trend of hardworking individuals and businesses already leaving our state — further eroding New York’s tax base,” Rep. John FasoJohn James FasoProgressive group targets GOP moderates on immigration 'Law & Order: SVU' star running for Congress Vulnerable GOP incumbent returns Meehan donations MORE (R-N.Y.) said in a statement Monday.

“Due 2 pressure of several members like me, bill was improved, but not enough for a significant # of my constituents,” said Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-Calif.) on Twitter.

One lawmaker who will be in the spotlight Tuesday is Rep. Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney Procter FrelinghuysenExiting lawmakers put in calls to K Street Ex-New York Jets lineman mulling run for House SEC paperless mandate a bad deal for rural, elderly investors MORE (R-N.J.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Chairmen of big committees generally vote with their party on major legislation, but Frelinghuysen, who is in a competitive district, voted against the House bill last month due to SALT deduction concerns. That drew a backlash from conservatives, some of whom think he should be replaced as chairman.

The Senate could see every Republican member in attendance vote for the bill.

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March Outgoing GOP rep: Republican Party 'heading into trouble' in election MORE (R-Ariz.) is the only Republican who, as of Monday evening, has not said how he would vote. Flake voted for the Senate bill earlier this month.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.) will miss the vote because he will be in Arizona receiving medical treatment. Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranOvernight Finance: Breaking down Trump's budget | White House finally releases infrastructure plan | Why it faces a tough road ahead | GOP, Dems feud over tax-cut aftermath | Markets rebound McConnell tees up budget deal McConnell urging Mississippi gov to appoint himself if Cochran resigns: report MORE (R-Miss.) also missed votes last week due to health issues but is expected to be in attendance for the tax vote.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Drama surrounding Shulkin — what is the future of VA health care? Blackburn pushes back on potential Corker bid: 'I'm going to win' MORE (R-Tenn.) voted against the earlier Senate bill, but says he will back the conference report.

Democrats have pointed to a provision in the bill relating to pass-through businesses as the “Corker kickback,” suggesting he switched his vote because the final bill could benefit people with real estate holdings.

But key Republicans say the retiring Corker was not involved in including that provision in the final bill, which they say came from House Republicans who wanted to help capital-intensive companies.

“The claim that Senator Corker had anything to do with it, in my view, is baloney,” Brady said.

Jordain Carney contributed.