Just hours before a scheduled vote, Senate Republicans are furiously rewriting portions of the tax overhaul bill. The usual suspects, Senator Corker, Cornyn and Flake are throwing the vote into turmoil by calling for automatic tax INCREASES if revenue targets are missed.
Multiple GOP senators leaving the chamber after a dramatic late afternoon vote said a key proposal for deficit hawks — a trigger to raise tax rates if sufficient economic growth did not materialize — would not pass procedural muster and would need to find something else to satisfy the bloc of deficit hawk holdouts, led by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).
“It doesn’t look like the trigger is going to work, according to the parliamentarian,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said. “So we have an alternative, frankly: a tax increase we don’t want to do to try to address Sen. Corker’s concerns.”
Corker told reporters: “My understanding is, that the parliamentarian has ruled against it so they’re just going to automatically put [tax increases] in, period.” Corker and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said the revenue raised with tax increases — which senators say would kick in six years after the enactment of the tax legislation — would total about $350 billion, although Cornyn suggested that figure may need to go higher.
Their comments came after extended drama on the Senate floor Thursday during an otherwise mundane procedural vote, when Corker, Flake and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) initially withheld their support on a vote to move forward with the bill. Ultimately they aligned with their party, but it suggested real concerns remained.
Senator Susan Collins has been giving the Trump White House heartburn as well, offering a “half-dozen amendments,” including one that aims to boost the corporate tax rate of 20 percent. The Maine lawmaker is also receptive to the idea of raising the proposed corporate rate to offset a number of the bill’s provisions.
“I have talked with many CEOs who have called to lobby me and they start as saying that they’d really love to have the rate go to 20, and then I say, what about 22 percent? Would that change your decision-making?” Collins revealed.
.”And they say we’d be happy with 22 percent,” Collins added.
Surprisingly absent from the deficit bloc is Senator John McCain, who today announced he would support the bill as is.
“After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to support the Senate tax reform bill. I believe this legislation, though far from perfect, would enhance American competitiveness, boost the economy, and provide long overdue tax relief for middle class families,” said McCain.
“For too long, hardworking people in Arizona and around the country have not seen a raise in their paychecks. This bill would directly benefit all Americans, allowing them to keep a higher percentage of what they earn. According to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation, every income bracket would see tax relief under this bill.
“This is not a perfect bill, but it is one that would deliver much-needed reform to our tax code, grow the economy, and help Americans keep more of their hard-earned money,” McCain concluded.