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 CornynTrump, GOP shift focus from alleged surveillance abuse to Durham Russia probe Hillicon Valley: FTC rules Cambridge Analytica engaged in 'deceptive practices' | NATO researchers warn social media failing to remove fake accounts | Sanders calls for breaking up Comcast, Verizon Bipartisan senators call on FERC to protect against Huawei threats 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 McConnellKey House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills Biden: 'No party should have too much power' Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill 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 DainesBullock drops White House bid, won't run for Senate Senate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Perry replacement moves closer to confirmation despite questions on Ukraine MORE (Mont.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMan acquitted over tweet offering 0 to killing an ICE agent Lessons of the Kamala Harris campaign Overnight Defense: Trump clashes with Macron at NATO summit | House impeachment report says Trump abused power | Top Dem scolds military leaders on Trump intervention in war crimes cases 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 CollinsHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Giffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days 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 ThuneCongress races to beat deadline on shutdown Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware Senators inch forward on federal privacy bill 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 LankfordTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Israeli, Palestinian business leaders seek Trump boost for investment project The Hill's Morning Report — Schiff: Clear evidence of a quid pro quo 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