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 TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynTrump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer 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 LeeZuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers to discuss 'future internet regulation' Hillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill MORE of Utah and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote 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 BradyLobbying groups ask Congress for help on Trump tariffs Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea Republicans' rendezvous with reality — their plan is to cut Social Security 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 FasoThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority GOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads Tax law failed to save GOP majority 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 FrelinghuysenThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority Top House GOP appropriations staffer moves to lobbying shop Individuals with significant disabilities need hope and action 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 FlakeFlake donates to Democratic sheriff being challenged by Arpaio in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says US-China trade talks to resume, hails potential trade with Japan, UK Joe Arpaio to run for Maricopa County sheriff in 2020  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 McCainAmerica's newest comedy troupe: House GOP Michelle Malkin knocks Cokie Roberts shortly after her death: 'One of the first guilty culprits of fake news' Arizona Democratic Party will hold vote to censure Sinema MORE (R-Ariz.) will miss the vote because he will be in Arizona receiving medical treatment. Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBiden has a lot at stake in first debate The Hill's Morning Report — Trump turns the page back to Mueller probe Trump praises Thad Cochran: 'A real senator with incredible values' 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 CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' 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.