Senate Republicans Say They Have Votes to Pass Tax Bill

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Republicans have a two-seat Senate majority. Tax reform would be different, promised McConnell and other GOP leaders.

"Other countries have learned how to use their tax codes to entice USA businesses overseas, businesses around the globe, to their country - to move away from the United States to their countries' more competitive tax code", Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado said. Then, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., committed to supporting the plan, leaving Republican leaders confident that they had the support.

President Trump is within striking distance of his first big legislative victory after Republicans in the Senate moved forward a bill to overhaul the tax system.

The trigger amendment was needed to win Corker's vote and those of others anxious about the deficit - worries that intensified when congressional analysts said the bill would not boost the economy enough to offset the estimated deficit expansion, as the Trump administration had said it would.

An agreement on DACA would be a significant development in the tax debate, as well as in a coming struggle over a year-end government funding bill.

In a flurry of last minute deal-making to win over votes, GOP leaders also agreed to more generous tax breaks for millions of businesses. "If 5-year-olds knew what we were doing and could vote, none of us would have a job".

With time needed to rewrite portions of the bill to satisfy the Corker contingent, Republican leaders opted to postpone further votes. They will drop the pass-through rate, used by businesses that pay taxes on the individual side of the tax code, to 23 percent, versus the 25 percent originally planned.

Senator Susan Collins had voiced deep skepticism about the bill. One would ensure the passage of the so-called Alexander-Murray legislation, a bill that would fund Cost Sharing Reductions for Obamacare. It is unclear if the pair would vote for the bill without the amendment. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) would hand states $2.25 billion a year to subsidize the cost of individuals requiring the most expensive medical attention. That change would match the House bill.

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Late in the day, however, three Republicans, led by Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, clung to a demand that proposed tax cuts would be pared back if future US economic performance did not meet projections.

The tax bill is seen by Republicans as crucial to their prospects in the November 2018 elections, when they will fight to keep control of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

It appears as if Republicans may not have satisfied Corker and just made a decision to accept that he would vote no. The GOP is reworking their bill after a last-minute setback and hope to pass it later in the day.

The deduction for state and local taxes would be in greater danger because it's in the crosshairs of both bills: The House's limits it, and the Senate's ends it outright.

The bill the House passed last month differs in several ways from the Senate version. Daines and Johnson signed on Friday morning.

On Thursday, the congressional tax scorekeepers at the Joint Committee on Taxation projected that the Senate Republican tax plan would add $1 trillion to the federal deficit, using "dynamic scoring" that accounts for economic growth.

Because the House passed a different tax-slashing bill, the probable effect of Senate approval - provided the House doesn't pass the Senate's version - would be a conference committee in which lawmakers from both chambers fashion a compromise that could include elements of either bill.