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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 CornynGOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending Police reform talks hit familiar stumbling block CNN asks Carol Baskin to comment on loose Texas tiger 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 McConnellWashington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Lawmakers reach agreement on bipartisan Jan. 6 commission 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 DainesGOP senator urges Biden to withdraw support for COVID vaccine patent waiver Overnight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals House conservatives take aim at Schumer-led bipartisan China bill MORE (Mont.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWill the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? Republicans have dumped Reagan for Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE (Ariz.), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRomney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans 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 ThuneGOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending Senate GOP dismayed by vote to boot Cheney Top Democrat: FCC actions are a 'potential setback' to autonomous vehicles 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 LankfordTop border officials defend Biden policies Rubio and bipartisan group of senators push to make daylight saving time permanent Senate inches toward COVID-19 vote after marathon session 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