Timing on tax vote slips amid intense talks

Timing on tax vote slips amid intense talks
© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans were expecting to cast a key procedural vote early Wednesday afternoon to begin debate on tax reform, but the timing has slipped some as lawmakers scramble to make last-minute adjustments.

Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynEnough legal games — we need to unleash American energy Three pros and three cons to Biden picking Harris The Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement MORE (R-Texas) said the bill is being held up because of “technical issues” but said GOP leaders have enough votes to advance the tax bill. 

“There’s some technical issues that may delay the vote a little bit,” he said.

GOP aides earlier on Wednesday said they expected a vote to proceed to the tax bill to take place about 2 p.m., but there are still some loose ends to wrap up.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate Democrats say White House isn't budging in coronavirus relief stalemate MORE (R-Ky.) would only tell GOP colleagues at lunch that a vote will take place sometime Wednesday afternoon.

Several Republicans with concerns over the bill shuttled in and out of McConnell’s office: Sens. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSenate Democrats ask Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Lincoln Project expands GOP target list, winning Trump ire MORE (Mont.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump rips Bill Maher as 'exhausted, gaunt and weak' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence Sarah Palin offers Harris advice: 'Don't get muzzled' MORE (Ariz.), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans Cheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama MORE (Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsProgressive Jewish group endorses Biden Poll: Gideon leads Collins by 8 points in Maine Senate race The Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement MORE (Maine).

Sen. Tom Tillis (R-N.C.), who presided over the Senate floor during lunch, said he expected a vote on the tax bill in the 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. timeframe.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Trump says he'll accept nomination from either White House or Gettysburg MORE (S.D.) said leaders are in talks with the Senate parliamentarian over whether a proposal to limit tax relief in case of underwhelming economic growth meets the procedural requirements of the budget process.

The so-called “trigger” is an important concession to Republicans concerned about the deficit, such as Corker and Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordElection security advocates see strong ally in Harris Congress should remove roadblocks to generosity for nonprofits Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump MORE (R-Okla.).

The details of the compromise have not yet been made public and conservative groups are pushing back hard against the idea.

Club for Growth President David McIntosh said, “The idea of a ‘tax hike trigger’ should be rejected on its merits.”

“It will have harmful impacts on American businesses and undermine any economic growth potential in this tax reform bill because businesses will not invest due to the possibility of a higher tax rate,” he said.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, warned that a trigger would create uncertainty in the private sector.

“The key to pro-growth tax reform is permanence and certainty,” he said. “No one invests in response to ‘maybe.’ A trigger that threatens tax hikes is a self-fulfilling threat to kill jobs.”

- This report was updated at 2:40 p.m. EST