Republican leaders trying to reach majority support for their tax cut must contend with another conservative who is raising objections, after Montana Sen. Steve Daines raised concerns about how it would affect ‘Main Street.’
Another Republican senator, Ron Johnson of Ohio, has already said he is a ‘no’ on the bill because of the way it advantages corporations over so-called ‘pass-throughs,’ business who file as individuals and miss off on some of the savings in the ‘massive’ $1.5 trillion cut.
‘Sen. Daines has concerns with how the tax bill looks at main street versus large corporations,’ an aide to the senator said, The Hill reported. ‘The Senator wants changes to the tax cut bill that ensure main street businesses are not put at a competitive disadvantage against large corporations.’
Daines, a Budget Committee member, linked his support to the issue. ‘Before I can support this bill, this improvement needs to be made.’
President Donald Trump has promised to ‘give the American people a huge tax cut for Christmas’ but the politics are getting tough on Capitol Hill as Republicans defect
Republicans need a simple majority to get the bill through the Senate this week, but with only 52 Republicans can only afford to lose two.
Vice President Mike Pence can break a tie.
President Trump hailed the bill as ‘a tremendous tax cut’ and ‘the biggest tax reduction in the history of our country’ on Monday.
‘I think we’re going to have great receptivity. We’ve had great spirit,’ the president said.
‘And I can tell you, the Republican senators who are up, if we win we are going to get some Democratic senators who are joining us. If we don’t win they wont be joining us,’ he predicted.
NOT THERE YET: Conservative Sen. Steve Daines has voiced concerns about the bill
‘But if we win I think we’ll probably going to have a bipartisan bill because a number of people are going to come over. But I’m not so interested in that. We’re really interested in getting it passed.’
A new Congressional Budget Office score estimates that “(t)he number of people with health insurance would decrease by 4 million in 2019 and 13 million in 2027′ under the bill due to its removal of an Obamacare individual mandate.
That provision has drawn criticism from Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, although it could get removed if needed to lock down enough votes.
Trump and Senate Republicans scrambled Monday to make changes to a Republican tax bill in an effort to win over holdout GOP senators and pass a tax package by the end of the year.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch (center-right) told reporters that he ‘hopes’ to have a tax relief plan on Trump’s desk by Christmas, and that he’s confident the GOP can find 50 votes to pass it
Key GOP members of the Senate Finance Committee emerged from the White House after a lunch meeting with the president sounding optimistic – but frustrated by the lack of cooperation from across the partisan aisle.
‘I just hope they get off their duffs and start working with us rather than going and blocking everything we come up with,’ Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch told reporters outside the West Wing.
Hatch insisted there is no ‘Plan B,’ telling DailyMail.com that he has ‘the right plan to go ahead with,’ and ‘we intend to get to 50′ votes,’ the threshold for passing a bill with Vice President Mike Pence serving as the tiebreaker.
Asked if the Senate will get the job done by Christmas, he said: ‘I hope so!’
In a morning tweet, the president said, ‘With just a few changes, some mathematical, the middle class and job producers can get even more in actual dollars and savings.’
Trump and Senate leaders are trying to balance competing demands, as some senators fear the package would add to the nation’s mounting debt, while others want more generous tax breaks for businesses. In a boost for the legislation, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said he would back the measure.
The president said in the afternoon that ‘if we win we’ll get some Democratic senators joining us.’
‘I think it’s going to benefit everybody,’ he said.
Despite a pronouncement from the Congressional Budget Office that the Republican bill would represent a net tax hike on some middle-income Americans, Hatch insisted he’s staying the course.
‘I don’t think they’re right,’ he said of the notoriously scattershot and off-target CBO.
Trump suggested he is open to making unspecified changes to the way millions of ‘pass-through’ businesses are taxed, a sticking point for some lawmakers. These are businesses in which profits are passed onto the owners, who report the income on their individual tax returns. The vast majority of U.S. businesses, big and small, are taxed this way.
Trump came back to Washington on Sunday night with the first lady and Barron after spending Thanksgiving in Florida
On Monday outside the White House, Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman told reporters that he sees ‘growing momentum’ for broad tax relief, ‘and I am confident that we’re going to get this done soon.’
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, another Republican, cast the GOP’s approach as a family-friendly salve for Americans living on society’s financial margins.
He said his goal is to help ‘those folks who are working hard every single day , oftentimes paycheck to paycheck, who feel invisible.’
‘They feel like they’re working their tails off and no one is paying attention.’
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has already declared his opposition to the current bill, saying it doesn’t cut business taxes enough for these types of partnerships and corporations. Johnson gets substantial income from such companies, including a manufacturer he helped found in Wisconsin and a commercial real estate company, according to his financial disclosure statements.
Trump and Republicans have set as a vital political goal the passage of tax overhaul legislation by the end of the year. The House recently passed a $1.5 trillion bill. Senate GOP leaders hope to muscle their bill through this week.
Trump was meeting Monday with five members of the Senate Finance Committee who are on board with the GOP plan. He will travel to Capitol Hill Tuesday to lobby Republican senators personally.
Republicans have only two votes to spare in the Senate, where they hold a 52-48 edge.
Their package blends a sharp reduction in top corporate and business tax rates with more modest relief for individuals.
Democrats say the package would mainly help corporations and the rich. Their argument was bolstered by a new congressional analysis that says the Senate bill would leave many low- and middle-income families worse off, while the wealthy would get big benefits. The analysis was done by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
In signaling his support, Paul wrote in an op-ed for Fox News: ‘I’m not getting everything I want – far from it. But I’ve been immersed in this process. I’ve fought for and received major changes for the better – and I plan to vote for this bill as it stands right now.’
On Monday outside the White House, Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman told reporters that he sees ‘growing momentum’ for broad tax relief, ‘and I am confident that we’re going to get this done soon’
Holdouts include Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who has objected to a provision in the Senate bill repealing the requirement under the ‘Obamacare’ program that everyone have health insurance. Collins has said that issue should be dealt with separately from the effort to overhaul the tax code.
GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona worry that the package will add to the nation’s mounting debt.
Corker’s office said he spent the Thanksgiving weekend on the phone with Senate colleagues and administration officials trying to find a path forward.
GOP leaders are working with on a potential revenue ‘backstop’ in case the party’s tax cut legislation fails to produce hoped-for levels of growth and tax receipts.
Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford said he and other Republicans are working on ‘just-in-case options’ to add to the measure during Senate floor debate this week. He appears to be talking about a mechanism that could automatically force tax rates back up if revenues fall short.
Last week Trump promised to ‘give the American people a huge tax cut for Christmas.’
On Monday he predicted it would be ‘the biggest tax cut in the history of the country. You’ll have to pay a lot less tax.’