Schumer calls for GOP to delay tax bill after Alabama election 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications Senators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it GOP senator: 2020 candidates must recuse themselves from impeachment trial MORE (D-N.Y.) is demanding that Republicans delay a vote on their tax plan following Tuesday's special election in Alabama.

"We Senate Democrats are calling on Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPoll shows Collins displaces McConnell as most unpopular senator Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti on impeachment: 'CNN can see through this nonsense' Trump says impeachment trial should move 'very quickly' MORE to hit pause on his tax bill and not hold a final vote until Doug Jones is sworn in to the Senate," he told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday.

He added that "it would be wrong for Senate Republicans to jam through this tax bill without giving the newly elected senator from Alabama the opportunity to cast his vote."

ADVERTISEMENT

Democrat Doug Jones won the special election, defeating GOP candidate Roy Moore, who was facing several accusations of pursuing relationships with teenagers when he was in his 30s. 

Jones's win will narrow the GOP majority in the Senate down to a single seat, 51-49, complicating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) ability to pass legislation.

Democratic senators and progressive outside groups immediately called on the tax bill to be delayed. 

But Jones isn't expected to impact the current timeline for tax reform. 

Republicans want to vote on their tax bill next week, and Alabama officials have said they will not certify the Senate race results until Dec. 26. That means Jones might not be seated until January.

Schumer, asked about when he wanted Doug Jones to be seated, said it should happen "as soon as possible," but noted that Alabama law would delay it until late December.

ADVERTISEMENT

Schumer added that the Alabama Senate vote was about Moore's behavior as well as dissatisfaction over President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE and GOP policies.

"It was not simply Roy Moore's conduct. ... There's a great discontent about the way Donald Trump has conducted his presidency. And there's a great deal of discontent about the policies the Republicans are pursuing," he said.

McConnell also said on Tuesday that Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeThe biggest political upsets of the decade State 'certificate of need' laws need to go GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries MORE (R-Ala.), who Moore defeated in the primary, would stay in the Senate through the end of the current session. 

Asked about calls for the tax bill to be delayed, a spokesman for McConnell noted the timeline for the tax plan was scheduled before the Alabama election.

"We announced our vote timing before the election, not as a result of the election," said Don Stewart.

Democrats can't block the tax bill on their own. Republicans are using special budget rules, known as reconciliation, to pass it with a simple majority and avoid a potential Democratic filibuster.

Schumer didn't discuss whether Democrats would use any procedural tactics to try to slow down debate on the Senate floor or stage late-night floor protests to try to build pressure on Republicans.

"You'll have to ask them," he told reporters, when asked if had any indication they would be able to win over the three Republicans needed to delay or kill the tax bill.

Democrats pointed to comments from then-Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Trumpification of the federal courts Trump to rally evangelicals after critical Christianity Today editorial Left presses 2020 Democrats to retake the courts from Trump MORE (D-Nev.) in the wake of Scott Brown's 2010 election in Massachusetts.

"We’re going to wait until the new senator arrives until we do anything more on health care," Reid said the day after Brown was elected.

The Massachusetts election was largely viewed as a referendum on health care, and some Democratic senators also backed holding off on the legislation until Brown was sworn in.

--This report was updated at 11:03 a.m.