Allahpundit reported on the last-minute Rubio drama surrounding the tax bill earlier today. Now Republicans have settled on a final version of the bill which they believe will bring everyone on board for a vote next week. The House is expected to vote on the revised Bill Tuesday with the Senate following a day or two later. If you’re looking for a weather vane to show which way the winds of momentum are blowing, consider the moderately upbeat statements of Sen. Susan Collins. From CNN:
“I’m confident at the end of the day, the Senate will approve this conference committee report,” House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady said.
The bill appeared to be gathering momentum Friday, as key holdouts in the Senate — where Republicans have a slim two-vote majority — signaled their support for the bill, some more directly than others.
After the plan’s release, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who has thus far been undecided, released a positive statement that held back from explicitly saying she’d vote for the bill.
“Americans deserve a tax system that is fair, simple, and promotes economic growth,” Collins said. “I am pleased that the final tax reform bill includes all three of the amendments I authored, along with a number of provisions for which I strongly advocated, that will benefit lower- and middle-income families.”
It’s worth noting that Collins’ apparent support comes despite a concerted effort by tearful progressives to get her to change her mind. From a NY Times story published Thursday:
As a group of progressive activists and constituents prepared for a 15-minute meeting on Wednesday with Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, they sat in the lobby of her office and developed a last-ditch strategy to persuade her to vote against the $1.5 trillion tax bill barreling through Congress: tears.
“If Senator Collins actually saw you as a human, saw me as a human, then she wouldn’t pass any of this,” said Ady Barkan, a member of the Center for Popular Democracy, who recently learned he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or A.L.S., and uses a wheelchair.
There was some speculation in the Boston Globe today that Collins may be fed up with Trump’s Republican Party and could decide to become an Independent who caucuses with Democrats. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that but so long as she doesn’t do it in the next week, the chances of the tax bill passing look fairly good. As for what the revised bill actually contains, it seems to be closer to the Senate version overall but includes a few items that weren’t in either bill. From the Hill:
Under the final bill, the top individual rate would be lowered from 39.6 percent to 37 percent, which is lower than the top rate in the original bills passed by the House and Senate. The corporate tax rate would be cut from 35 percent to 21 percent, up from 20 percent in the original bills.
The measure has seven individual tax brackets, and like both the House and Senate bills, substantially increases the standard deduction.
It also increases the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000, as the Senate bill did, and increases the maximum amount that is refundable to $1,400, up from $1,100 in the original Senate measure. The latter change was made to secure Rubio’s vote.
The legislation preserves the deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving, though it lowers the cap on the mortgage deduction from $1 million to $750,000…
Several popular tax preferences that were eliminated in the House bill are preserved. They include the deduction for medical expenses, the deduction for student-loan interest, the exclusion for graduate students’ tuition waivers and the ability to issue tax-exempt private-activity bonds.
So, again, it appears as if they’ve actually got everyone lined up to pass this behemoth in a few days. The Democratic effort to convince everyone this will end the world seems to have failed, possibly because a similar claim by Democrats that the repeal of net neutrality would end the world sucked up a lot of oxygen this week. The apocalypses are upon us! I guess all the people who wind up paying lower taxes online will be doubly surprised the world hasn’t ended.