Two Senate Republicans balk at lowering top tax rate to 37 percent

Two Senate Republicans balk at lowering top tax rate to 37 percent
© Greg Nash

Two key Senate Republicans are pushing back on a proposal to lower the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent, drawing questions about support for the idea.

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGiffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days Lawmakers call for investigation into program meant to help student loan borrowers with disabilities MORE (R-Maine) told The New York Times that “I don’t think lowering the top rate is a good idea.”

“I had hoped that the House position, the original House position, would prevail,” she said of language in the House-passed tax-reform bill that would set a 39.6 percent rate for individuals earning more than $500,000 and couples earning more than $1 million.

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The Senate-passed bill would set the top rate at 38.5 percent.

Collins said she will wait and “look at the entire conference report and what all the provisions are.”

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio places hold on number-two Interior nominee over offshore drilling Rubio on Chris Pratt water bottle story: 'I too was caught with a single use plastic water bottle' House votes to sanction Chinese officials over treatment of Uighurs MORE (R-Fla.) also balked at the proposal to lower the top individual rate, which negotiators may pay for by raising the corporate rate in the pending legislation from 20 percent to 21 percent. Details about the tentative agreement emerged earlier Tuesday.

Rubio noted that the Senate this month rejected a proposal sponsored by himself and Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Pelosi works to remove legal protections for tech companies from USMCA | Treasury sanctions Russian group over 0 million hack | Facebook sues Chinese individuals for ad fraud | Huawei takes legal action against FCC Senators defend bipartisan bill on facial recognition as cities crack down Trump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans MORE (R-Utah) to set the corporate tax rate at 20.94 percent and use the revenues to extend the child tax credit to low-income families by making it refundable against payroll taxes.

“20.94% Corp. rate to pay for tax cut for working family making $40k was anti-growth but 21% to cut tax for couples making $1million is fine?” Rubio tweeted on Tuesday evening.

Senate Republicans control 52 seats and can afford only two defections and still pass the tax bill under special budget rules, with Vice President Pence breaking a 50-50 tie.

Only one Republican, Sen. 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.), voted against the Senate tax bill earlier this month. He said at the time that the bill could end up adding too much to the federal deficit.

On Tuesday, however, he expressed an open mind about voting for the legislation that emerges from the Senate-House conference.

“I want to try to get to yes. I’m a tax-reform guy. I’m also a deficit guy and those are bumping up against each other right now. At the end of the day, I’m going to cast my vote as if I’m the deciding vote on the overall package,” he said. “We’re still working on it.”

Corker spoke to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown | Trump asks Supreme Court to shield financial records from House Democrats | House passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading Hillicon Valley: Pelosi works to remove legal protections for tech companies from USMCA | Treasury sanctions Russian group over 0 million hack | Facebook sues Chinese individuals for ad fraud | Huawei takes legal action against FCC Mnuchin to lawmakers: 'I'm highly encouraged you will' pass Trump's North America trade deal MORE on Monday evening and on Tuesday to discuss how he might come around to supporting the final version of the bill.