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GOP racing to tax votes

GOP racing to tax votes
© Greg Nash

Republicans racing for the finish line said they could hold final votes in the House and Senate on their tax-cut bill as early as Tuesday, finishing off the first major legislative victory for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke debate showdown Live coverage: Cruz faces O'Rourke in Texas debate showdown Trump, Feinstein feud intensifies over appeals court nominees MORE (R-Texas) told reporters the chamber could vote on the bill Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning as two previously undecided GOP senators, Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenators pledge action on Saudi journalist’s disappearance Bernie Sanders: US should pull out of war in Yemen if Saudis killed journalist Senators warn Trump that Saudi relationship is on the line MORE of Utah and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins and the mob mentality Graham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh St. Lawrence alumni, faculty want honorary degree for Collins revoked MORE of Maine, said they would back it.

While both were expected to support the bill, their public declarations added to the sense of inevitability surrounding the bill.

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The House is expected to vote Tuesday.

 

The pre-Christmas votes will follow new reports that say the tax plan’s costs could exceed $2 trillion over 10 years before factoring in economic growth if the bill’s temporary tax cuts are made permanent. That’s significantly higher than the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that the bill as written would cost $1.46 trillion.

Most of the tax cuts for individuals expire after 2025, and some other provisions in the bill are also temporary, while the reduction in the corporate tax rate is permanent. Some of the tax changes are temporary in order to comply with budget rules that prevent the bill from adding to the deficit after 10 years if it is to avoid a filibuster from Democrats.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan deficit hawk group, estimated that making the tax cuts permanent would increase the bill’s cost to $2 trillion to $2.2 trillion using traditional scoring and would result in the bill costing $1.5 trillion to $1.7 trillion after accounting for economic growth.

The right-leaning Tax Foundation estimated that making the plan permanent would cost $2.7 trillion before accounting for economic growth and $1.4 trillion after doing so.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Some ObamaCare premiums to decrease next year | Sanders hits back at Trump over 'Medicare for all' | Panel to investigate rising maternal mortality rates House committee to investigate rising maternal mortality rates How the Trump tax law passed: The final stretch MORE (R-Texas) pointed out that the Tax Foundation also indicated that the tax bill would boost economic growth, and was optimistic that the legislation would be successful in strengthening the economy and the U.S. business climate.

“We just finished eight years with Washington spending your money. How about we try eight years of you spending your money. And then a future Congress will decide which one works best for the country,” he told reporters Monday. “I’m convinced they’ll decide that stronger growth and a far more competitive tax code means continuing those permanently.”

When the House passed its version of the tax bill last month in a 227-205 tally, only 13 Republicans voted against it, mostly due to concerns about its curbs to the state and local tax (SALT) deduction.

The House-passed bill would have eliminated the deductions for state and local income and sales taxes and capped the property tax deduction at $10,000. The final bill is more generous, capping the total amount of state and local tax deductions households can take at $10,000 in a year but allowing them to deduct their property taxes as well as either their income or sales taxes.

Even with that change, some GOP lawmakers in high-tax states who voted against the House bill have said they plan to vote against the bill.

“The overall impact of changes to the SALT deduction will accelerate the trend of hardworking individuals and businesses already leaving our state — further eroding New York’s tax base,” Rep. John FasoJohn James FasoRepublicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel Midterms in 2018 become most expensive in history Election Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms MORE (R-N.Y.) said in a statement Monday.

“Due 2 pressure of several members like me, bill was improved, but not enough for a significant # of my constituents,” said Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-Calif.) on Twitter.

One lawmaker who will be in the spotlight Tuesday is Rep. Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney Procter FrelinghuysenFlorida politics play into disaster relief debate On The Money: Stocks slide for second day as Trump blames 'loco' Fed | Mulvaney calls for unity at consumer bureau | Pelosi says Dems will go after Trump tax returns GOP chairman: FEMA has enough money for Hurricane Michael MORE (R-N.J.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Chairmen of big committees generally vote with their party on major legislation, but Frelinghuysen, who is in a competitive district, voted against the House bill last month due to SALT deduction concerns. That drew a backlash from conservatives, some of whom think he should be replaced as chairman.

The Senate could see every Republican member in attendance vote for the bill.

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeOn The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference GOP senator: Not 'appropriate' for Mnuchin to go to Saudi conference MORE (R-Ariz.) is the only Republican who, as of Monday evening, has not said how he would vote. Flake voted for the Senate bill earlier this month.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms Comey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race Live coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate MORE (R-Ariz.) will miss the vote because he will be in Arizona receiving medical treatment. Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranThe Hill's Morning Report — Kavanaugh ordeal thrusts FBI into new political jam GOP Senate candidate to African Americans: Stop begging for 'government scraps' Trump endorses Hyde-Smith in Mississippi Senate race MORE (R-Miss.) also missed votes last week due to health issues but is expected to be in attendance for the tax vote.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCorker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing GOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Poll: GOP's Blackburn holds slim lead in Tennessee Senate race MORE (R-Tenn.) voted against the earlier Senate bill, but says he will back the conference report.

Democrats have pointed to a provision in the bill relating to pass-through businesses as the “Corker kickback,” suggesting he switched his vote because the final bill could benefit people with real estate holdings.

But key Republicans say the retiring Corker was not involved in including that provision in the final bill, which they say came from House Republicans who wanted to help capital-intensive companies.

“The claim that Senator Corker had anything to do with it, in my view, is baloney,” Brady said.

Jordain Carney contributed.