House will have to vote for tax-cut bill again
House Republicans will need to pass their tax plan for a second time after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that provisions in the bill violated the rules governing the legislation.
“Members are advised that we expect Senate Democrats to insist on a Byrd Point of Order on the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 1, which is likely to be sustained,” said guidance from House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) office, which was sent to GOP lawmakers.
“As such, Members are further advised that an additional procedural vote on the Motion to Concur is expected tomorrow morning, which will clear the bill for President Trump’s signature,” his office added.
The House initially passed the tax plan earlier Tuesday, with the Senate poised to clear the bill on Tuesday night.
A final vote is now expected on Wednesday.
The Senate ruled that two provisions in the bill did not comply with the budget rules of reconciliation, which Republicans are using to avoid a Democratic filibuster, according to multiple congressional sources.
A House Ways and Means Committee spokesperson said “two minor provisions” would be removed from the Senate bill.
One, according to the aide, is tied to 529 accounts for homeschooling expenses, pushed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
The second concerns an exemption included in the tax bill that would allow universities with fewer than 500 tuition-paying students from having to pay the endowment excise tax.
The parliamentarian’s decision marks a last-minute setback for the GOP’s momentum on their tax bill. But Republican aides remained adamant that the bill would still reach Trump’s desk this week.
“The Senate will still vote tonight, and the House will vote tomorrow to send the final bill to the President’s desk,” the Ways and Means spokesperson said. “Chairman [Kevin] Brady [R-Texas] will work to restore these provisions in a future tax bill.”
The ruling would allow Democrats to strip the two provisions out of the legislation unless Republicans can corral 60 votes, which requires winning over at least eight Democratic senators — and keep their entire caucus on board.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) quickly seized on the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling, saying “the House revote is the latest evidence of just how shoddily written the GOP tax scam really is.”
“The wealthy and well-connected will be exploiting the hidden loopholes and giveaways in the GOP tax scam for years to come. Meanwhile, middle-class families pay more and our children get stuck with the bill for an exploding national debt,” she said.
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also seized on the ruling immediately, saying Republicans in a “mad dash to provide tax breaks for their billionaire campaign contributors” had run afoul of the chamber’s rules.
“It is our intention to raise a point of order to remove these provisions from the conference report and require the House to vote on this bill again. Instead of providing tax breaks to the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations, we need to rebuild the disappearing middle class,” they said in a joint statement.