GOP considers letting tax cuts for families expire sooner

Andrew Cummings
December 16, 2017

Since they swept to power in Washington in January, Trump and the Republicans have not managed to pass any major legislation, in particular failing on a healthcare overhaul, and have lost hard-fought elections in Alabama and Virginia, while Trump's public approval ratings are low.

GOP leaders had said Wednesday they believed that they had reached a broad agreement both chambers could pass, and they planned to unveil the package Friday morning with hopes of voting on it early next week.

And in a major reversal, Sen.

Corker, a fiscal hawk who opposed an earlier bill that passed the Senate because of its deficit impact, said the final measure was "far from perfect" but he would support it, calling it a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to help USA businesses.

"This bill is far from flawless, and left to my own accord, we would have reached bipartisan consensus on legislation that avoided any chance of adding to the deficit", Corker said in a statement Friday. He said he made a decision to support the bill now because the country is "better off with it" than without it.

Instead, the final bill focuses on narrowing two core deductions.

Despite expressions of confidence about passage from party leaders, the path to a final vote in the Senate could still be perilous.

Bernie Sanders, a leading liberal voice in the Senate who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination past year, called the bill "a moral and economic obscenity".

Republican House and Senate negotiators released a final tax bill on Friday that would overhaul the individual and corporate codes after making last-minute changes that appeared to lock down the votes needed for passage.

Democrats have been unified against the measure, calling it a giveaway to corporations and the rich that would drive up the federal deficit. The committee is charged with blending the tax bills passed by the House and Senate, though Republicans have done all their negotiations behind closed doors.

"I'm confident at the end of the day the Senate will approve this conference committee report because no one should be defending the status quo, the frightful tax code Americans have had to live with for too long", Brady said.

In threatening to vote down the tax plan, Rubio is reopening a fight he and Lee lost on the Senate floor earlier this month.

Republicans have cleared another key hurdle in their dash to pass a tax bill before Christmas. Without that tax penalty, congressional forecasters estimate that 13 million more Americans will go without insurance, and premiums on the individual Obamacare market will increase by an average of 10 percent. The bill doubles the credit, meant to help reduce the costs of raising kids, to $2,000 per dependent child under the age of 17, with a refundable portion of $1,400. Corporate tax lobbyists have been seeking a tax cut of this magnitude for many years.

The change was enough to get Rubio's support. The credit is at least partially refundable to qualified taxpayers who earned more than $3,000.

"For far too long, Washington has ignored and left behind the American working class", Rubio tweeted. Republicans say they expect the package to increase economic growth, generating additional tax revenue and lessening the hit to the $20 trillion budget deficit.

If they stick to that pace, legislation could be delivered for President Trump's signature by mid-week next week.

Most of what we know about this bill comes from leaks, with the full text still under wraps. Rubio asked rhetorically on Wednesday.

Flake has said he needs to see all the details before supporting the measure. He will offer what aides called a "closing argument to the American people". Susan Collins requested this change.

Adding to the uncertainty: Sen.

The Senate vote outlook has been muddled by Republican Senator John McCain's hospitalization for treatment for side effects of cancer therapy. And Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., had outpatient surgery on Monday to remove a lesion on his nose, said his spokesman Chris Gallegos, and "the procedure was more extensive than expected".

Congressional Republicans are looking at shortening the duration of tax cuts that their plan would give to families and individuals, a leading lawmaker said Thursday.

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