Week ahead: Congress rushes to pass tax reform, funding before holidays

Week ahead: Congress rushes to pass tax reform, funding before holidays
© Greg Nash

Republicans are rushing to finish their massive rewrite of the tax code and pass a government funding bill before Christmas.

Senate and House Republicans struck an agreement Wednesday on a sweeping tax-cut bill that, if passed, would be the first major piece of legislation signed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyTrump announces tariffs on 0B in Chinese goods New GOP tax cuts would add .8 trillion to deficit, says report House panel advances key bill in new round of GOP tax cuts MORE (R-Texas) told reporters the bill would be released Friday at 5:30 p.m.

ADVERTISEMENT

Senate GOP leaders plan to hold an initial procedural vote on Monday, a final Senate vote Tuesday and then send the measure to the House for final passage.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMurkowski echoes calls for Kavanaugh, accuser to testify McConnell rips Democrats for handling of Kavanaugh nomination Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow MORE (R-Ky.) heralded the development as something that would boost the middle class.

"We want to take more money out of Washington's pocket and put more money into the pockets of the middle class. I'm confident the conference committee will finalize a bill that does just that," he tweeted.

GOP leaders are looking to solidify Senate support for the bill, with two Republicans saying they can't support the bill as written.

The final bill will increase the amount of the refundable child tax credit to $1,400, Rep. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemWomen candidates set nationwide records The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — 2020 hopefuls lead the charge against Kavanaugh Sunday shows preview: Trump stokes intel feud over clearances MORE (R-S.D.) told reporters Friday, as leaders seek to win the vote of Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioNYT says it was unfair on Haley curtain story Rubio defends Haley over curtains story: Example of media pushing bias House lawmakers urge top intel official to probe national security threat of doctored videos MORE (R-Fla.).

The refundable amount was $1,100 in the Senate-passed tax bill, but Rubio on Thursday said that wasn't good enough. He has threatened to vote against the bill unless the refundable amount of the credit is increased.

It's unclear whether the change will be enough to satisfy him.

A spokeswoman for Rubio said Friday they had not yet seen the text of the bill, but warned that unless the percentage of the refundable credit is significantly higher, Rubio's position would remain the same.

"Can only support bill if % of the 2K #ChildTaxCredit available to #workingclass parents is increased to % meaningfully higher than 55%," Rubio tweeted Friday morning.

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Health Care: Opioid legislation passes overwhelmingly | DOJ backs Cigna-Express Scripts merger | Senate passes ban on pharmacy gag clauses US military intervention in Venezuela would be a major mistake The Hill's 12:30 Report — Obama jumps into midterm fight with speech blasting Trump | Trump wants DOJ to probe anonymous writer | Day four of Kavanaugh hearing MORE (R-Utah) said he was undecided about the bill until he saw the increase in the refundable child tax credit. Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerMurkowski echoes calls for Kavanaugh, accuser to testify Kavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow MORE (R-Tenn.) voted against the Senate tax bill, citing concerns about its impact on the deficit. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMurkowski echoes calls for Kavanaugh, accuser to testify Kavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday White House says Kavanaugh ready to testify over 'false allegation' MORE (R-Maine) voted for the initial bill, but objected to a change that decreases the tax rate for top earners.

The absence of two GOP senators is also creating uncertainty about the timing of the chamber's vote on tax legislation.

Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainAnother recession could hit US in 2019, says credit union association chief R-E-S-P-E-C-T: One legacy of Franklin and McCain is up to us To cure Congress, elect more former military members MORE (R-Ariz.) and Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranGOP Senate candidate to African Americans: Stop begging for 'government scraps' Trump endorses Hyde-Smith in Mississippi Senate race GOP Senate candidate doubles down on Robert E. Lee despite Twitter poll MORE (R-Miss.) have both missed recent Senate votes, and one of their votes will likely be needed to pass the bill.

Republican leadership signaled on Thursday that the exact timing of the vote, and which chamber will move first, is now being hashed out.

"I don't know the answer to that question. It's all about timing and managing absences in the Senate. ... We're simply being flexible to honor their concerns about managing their schedule and some possible absences," Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi calls on Ryan to bring long-term Violence Against Women Act to floor Juan Williams: America warms up to socialism Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker MORE (R-Wis.) told reporters.

Congress is also scrambling to extend government funding before it expires on Dec. 22. House Republicans introduced legislation on Wednesday that would fund most of the government through mid-January and fund the Defense Department through the end of the 2018 fiscal year.

But Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats should end their hypocrisy when it comes to Kavanaugh and the judiciary Celebrities back both Cuomo and Nixon as New Yorkers head to primary vote Dems launch million digital ad buy in top Senate races MORE (D-N.Y.) warned that proposal is dead on arrival in the Senate, where 44 of the Democratic caucus's 48 members have indicated they won't support it.

Democrats say any increase in defense spending should be equally matched with more funding for nondefense matters.

Congress faces a Dec. 22 deadline to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. Lawmakers also need to get a deal to lift the budget caps before mid-January if they want to avoid automatic spending cuts under sequestration.

President Trump's nominee to lead the Export-Import Bank also appears unlikely to survive a scheduled committee vote in the coming week.

Scott GarrettErnest (Scott) Scott GarrettManufacturers support Reed to helm Ex-Im Bank Trump taps nominee to lead Export-Import Bank Who has the edge for 2018: Republicans or Democrats? MORE, a former Republican lawmaker from New Jersey who endured a rough confirmation hearing in November, has yet to secure enough support in the Senate Banking Committee to advance his nomination.

The Senate Banking Committee is holding a hearing on Tuesday to consider Garrett's nomination, along with four other nominees that would provide the bank with a quorum for the first time in two years.

On Tuesday, Banking Committee Chairman Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoHillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law Trump authorizes sanctions against foreign governments that interfere in US elections Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke MORE (R-Idaho) said he wouldn't make any predictions about how the vote will go.

"I'll let the senators speak for themselves," Crapo said.

 

Your week ahead:

Tuesday:

Senate Banking Committee: Vote on Scott Garrett to be president, Kimberly Reed to be first vice president, Mark Greenblatt to be inspector general, and Spencer BachusSpencer Thomas BachusThe key for EXIM's future lies in accountability Manufacturers support Reed to helm Ex-Im Bank Manufacturers ramp up pressure on Senate to fill Ex-Im Bank board MORE III, Judith Delzoppo Pryor and Claudia Slacik each to be a member of the board of directors, all of the Export-Import Bank, 10 a.m.

 

Recap the week with Overnight Finance:

Monday: Scorekeeper says House tax bill won't pay for itself | Fight over Treasury's analysis of tax plan | GOP worries about tax bill's unpopularity | What's ahead in year end spending fight

Tuesday: GOP eyes raising corporate rate, lowering individual rate | House to link defense spending to stopgap bill | Senate Dems play hardball on funding | House package would delay ObamaCare taxes | Dem AGs blast Mulvaney as consumer chief

Wednesday: GOP leaders strike deal on tax bill | Vote expected next week | Trump makes last pitch for tax bill | Fed hikes rates for third time this year

Thursday: Rubio to vote 'no' unless bill expands child tax credit | Senate absences could delay vote on tax bill | Trump touts deregulation | Labor board overrules joint-employer decision

 

Today's stories:

Ann Coulter rips Rubio for demanding child tax credit increase

GOP changes child tax credit in bid to win Rubio's vote

Bloomberg goes off on GOP tax bill: We CEOs 'don't need the money'

Welfare reform moving to center of Republican agenda

 

Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, vneedham@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com, and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @VickofTheHill, @NJagoda, @NivElis.