The Senate Republicans passed their “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA) Friday evening, on a 51-49 vote. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) was the lone Republican in opposition. He objected to the increase in the deficit every analysis of the bill has predicted.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) was opposed to the bill until he got a ridiculously flimsy “promise” that he could be in the room when the White House and congressional leadership get together to decide what to do about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Not that he would have any input, or a promise of legislation or anything else, but that he could be in the room. He also got them to eliminate a $85 billion “gimmick” to allow companies to immediately deduct new investment expenses. So there’s that.
The other pretending opposition came from Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) who continues to lie to herself and to her constitutents. She said she got an agreement to get the Senate to use the same state and local property tax deduction number—up to $10,000—as the House. But her big “win” in her mind is the “assurances” she got from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “that no reduction in Medicare will be triggered by tax bill.” That’s a promise she knows very well McConnell can’t actually give, because he can’t guarantee Senate Democrats will play along—it will require 60 votes—nor can he promise anything when it comes to House Republicans. Who hate him.
Other changes included giving Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Steve Daines (R-MT) the big tax break they wanted, raising their deduction (and it will be their deduction, for their families’ businesses) to 23 percent from 17.4 percent.
Changes from the bill that had to be scrapped Thursday night reportedly “include keeping the alternative minimum tax for corporations, increasing the pass-through deduction, allowing up to $10,000 in property tax deductions and increasing repatriation rates.”
At least, that’s what we think they voted on. It was all pretty much a big secret until lobbyists gave Democrats a list of likely amendments, and then late this afternoon when a PDF covered in scrawled corrections was provided to senators and leaked.
That’s “regular order” for Mitch McConnell and John McCain.