Today on the Hill: Tax Reform Moves to Senate Floor as ‘Revenue Trigger’ Emerges as Key Issue

The Senate’s tax reform bill cleared another hurdle yesterday, being approved out of the Senate Budget Committee on a 12-11 vote after Republican skeptics Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Bob Corker (R-TN) backed down from threats to vote against the bill in committee. However, Sen. Corker’s vote came on the premise of an emerging agreement to include a so-called ‘revenue trigger’ that would raise taxes should the anticipated economic growth from the package fail to boost government revenues as much as claimed by the bill’s proponents. That agreement is now a serious point of contention in the Republican caucus, setting deficit hawks such as Sens. Corker, Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and James Lankford (R-OK) against low-tax advocates such as John Kennedy (R-LA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Pat Toomey (R-PA) – all of whom have already announced their opposition to the inclusion of the so-called trigger. While the tax reform package continues to sail through the legislative process, this significant policy hiccup will need to be resolved as the package now moves to the Senate floor.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will be bringing the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — a now defunct bill given that the Senate approved the House’s version last month — in order to bide time for Republicans to set up a game plan for floor consideration of tax reform legislation. A motion to proceed on the tax reform bill (H.R. 1) could come as soon as this afternoon, which would trigger a 20 hour debate window, followed by a vote-a-rama on proposed amendments. That timeline would put the bill on a path for a final up-or-down Friday, but the process should be considered to be in flux given the many moving pieces that are still in play. And as with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal effort earlier this year, the bill may waver from surely dead to surely on the way to approval within only a few hours.  

 

The House has a relatively quiet day scheduled in the midst of the Senate’s excitement. Lawmakers will vote on the Senate-passed resolution to implement required workplace environment training for Members and employees of Congress following the avalanche of recent sexual harassment scandals. The resolution has bipartisan support and will be considered under suspension of the rules. A bill requiring congressional approval for mineral withdrawal in Minnesota forests will also be considered pursuant to a rule. The legislation is partisan and was approved on a party-line vote out of the Natural Resources Committee earlier this month.

The Senate’s tax reform bill cleared another hurdle yesterday, being approved out of the Senate Budget Committee on a 12-11 vote after Republican skeptics Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Bob Corker (R-TN) backed down from threats to vote against the bill in committee. However, Sen. Corker’s vote came on the premise of an emerging agreement to include a so-called ‘revenue trigger’ that would raise taxes should the anticipated economic growth from the package fail to boost government revenues as much as claimed by the bill’s proponents. That agreement is now a serious point of contention in the Republican caucus, setting deficit hawks such as Sens. Corker, Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and James Lankford (R-OK) against low-tax advocates such as John Kennedy (R-LA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Pat Toomey (R-PA) – all of whom have already announced their opposition to the inclusion of the so-called trigger. While the tax reform package continues to sail through the legislative process, this significant policy hiccup will need to be resolved as the package now moves to the Senate floor.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will be bringing the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — a now defunct bill given that the Senate approved the House’s version last month — in order to bide time for Republicans to set up a game plan for floor consideration of tax reform legislation. A motion to proceed on the tax reform bill (H.R. 1) could come as soon as this afternoon, which would trigger a 20 hour debate window, followed by a vote-a-rama on proposed amendments. That timeline would put the bill on a path for a final up-or-down Friday, but the process should be considered to be in flux given the many moving pieces that are still in play. And as with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal effort earlier this year, the bill may waver from surely dead to surely on the way to approval within only a few hours.  

The House has a relatively quiet day scheduled in the midst of the Senate’s excitement. Lawmakers will vote on the Senate-passed resolution to implement required workplace environment training for Members and employees of Congress following the avalanche of recent sexual harassment scandals. The resolution has bipartisan support and will be considered under suspension of the rules. A bill requiring congressional approval for mineral withdrawal in Minnesota forests will also be considered pursuant to a rule. The legislation is partisan and was approved on a party-line vote out of the Natural Resources Committee earlier this month.