Senate Republicans are scrambling to make last-minute changes to their tax bill as at least 6 Republicans have publicly expressed concerns about the bill that cuts taxes for the wealthiest Americans, and the legislation is coming closer to collapse in the Senate.
As reported by The Washington Post:
Senate Republicans are seriously considering several last-minute changes to their tax legislation in an effort to mollify wavering members, four people familiar with the discussions said, as GOP leaders seek to keep their members from defecting ahead of crucial votes this week.
There are numerous members demanding changes, and their needs don’t all overlap. Together, the requests put Republican leaders in a difficult position, as they attempt to accommodate individual holdouts on a one-off basis without losing other members or creating a situation in which the bill collapses under the weight of disparate demands.
The move comes after the Congressional Budget Office released a new report concluding that the Republican Senate tax bill is even worse than previously thought. The CBO analysis found that the Senate tax legislation if passed would hurt Americans in the lowest income brackets while helping wealthy Americans get even richer.
Under the Republican tax proposal, Americans earning over $100,000 a year and corporations would enjoy significant tax breaks, people earning less than $30,000 annually would start being negatively affected as early as 2019.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping to hold a vote as early as this Thursday. With Republicans holding a majority of 52-48, the party can’t afford to lose more than two votes in order to pass the bill with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.
However, as of this writing, six Republicans who have expressed views opposing or wavering on it.
Sen. Susan Collins
The Maine senator has said she opposes including a mandate repealing the requirement that all Americans enroll in Obamacare.
“I want to see changes in that bill, and I think there will be changes,” she said during an appearance ABC’s This Week.
Though she isn’t a guaranteed no — she said she wouldn’t be making a final decision until after seeing all provisions — she is also not completely on board.
Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, and John McCain
“We need real, fiscally responsible #TaxReform that doesn’t explode the national debt,” Flake tweeted recently.
According to the latest CBO analysis, the GOP tax plan would add an estimated $1.4 trillion deficit to the national debt. Senator Flake has criticized the bill on those grounds.
“I remain concerned over how the current tax reform proposals will grow the already staggering national debt by opting for short-term fixes while ignoring long-term problems for taxpayers and the economy,” Flake said in a statement.
Senators John McCain and Bob Corker have shared similar reservations.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Murkowski is currently a swing vote. Like Senator Collins, she has expressed opposition to including an Obamacare repeal mandate in the GOP tax plan. “Tax reform is complicated enough, and when you add health care reform in at the same time, it continues to complicate it,” she said a few weeks ago.
Sen. Ron Johnson
Johnson has explicitly stated his intention to vote against the bill, arguing that it presents no benefits for small business, but rather only for large corporations.
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) November 16, 2017