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 CornynDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Cornyn disputes GAO report on withholding of Ukraine aid: It's 'certainly not a crime' 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 McConnellSenate Republicans muscle through rules for Trump trial Collins breaks with GOP on attempt to change impeachment rules resolution Roberts admonishes House managers, Trump lawyers after heated exchange 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 DainesKoch network could target almost 200 races in 2020, official says GOP senators introduce resolution to change rules, dismiss impeachment without articles Congress to clash over Trump's war powers MORE (Mont.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMartha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter Meghan McCain blasts NY Times: 'Everyone already knows how much you despise' conservative women GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials MORE (Ariz.), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerRNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Republicans muscle through rules for Trump trial Collins breaks with GOP on attempt to change impeachment rules resolution McConnell keeps press in check as impeachment trial starts 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 ThuneSenate fails to get deal to speed up fight over impeachment rules Senate to vote on Trump's Canada, Mexico trade deal Thursday Senate braces for Trump impeachment trial 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 LankfordDemocrats sound election security alarm after Russia's Burisma hack Enes Kanter sees political stardom — after NBA and WWE 2020 predictions: Trump will lose — if not in the Senate, then with the voters 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