Senate Republicans now confident they will pass tax reform bill

Congress' deficit hawks seem to have gone missing in action

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced Thursday he would support the GOP tax plan, giving the bill a high-profile boost ahead of a Senate vote for passage. Rob Portman (R-OH) told reporters. Senate leaders both declared the report junk and claimed it vindicates their claim that the tax bill will pay for itself. That embarrassing debacle damaged McConnell's reputation and infuriated Trump.

"Other countries have learned how to use their tax codes to entice USA businesses overseas, businesses around the globe, to their country - to move away from the United States to their countries' more competitive tax code", Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado said. The GOP is reworking their bill after a last-minute setback and hope to pass it later in the day. Republicans hadn't provided any detailed explanations or legislative text for the changes.

The role of Flake and Corker in the tax overhaul is causing consternation among fellow Republican Senators.

"The [JCT] score ends the fantasy about magical growth, about unicorns and growth fairies showing that tax cuts pay for themselves", Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of OR said.

"But here's what I think is important", he went on, "our Democratic colleagues basically say you get zero economic growth with tax cuts, and I think that position has been emphatically repudiated by this report".

An agreement on DACA would be a significant development in the tax debate, as well as in a coming struggle over a year-end government funding bill. Holdout Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who asked GOP leaders for multiple changes to the bill, has not yet committed to supporting it. Daines and Johnson signed on Friday morning. Steve Daines (R) of Montana, backed the tax legislation Wednesday after securing an increase in the deduction for business income from 17.4 percent to 20 percent. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) would hand states $2.25 billion a year to subsidize the cost of individuals requiring the most expensive medical attention.

Dead, 150 Injured After Violent Clashes Between Forces And Islamist Protesters
Protesters, some wearing gas masks, fought back in scattered battles across empty highways and surrounding neighbourhoods. Islamabad city magistrate yesterday issued a warning to protesters to disperse by midnight or face consequences.

A key House Republican said that any stopgap spending to avert a government shutdown December 8 should keep the government open into January instead of rushing work on an omnibus spending bill in hopes of beating a Christmas deadline.

The scramble to alter the bill came after the Senate's parliamentarian ruled that automatic "triggers" created to guard against big deficits would violate Senate rules. His job is to count and marshal votes for Republican measures.

Opposition from Corker and Flake, who have voiced concerns about the debt, and Johnson, who wants changes to the way businesses are taxed, would be enough to kill the bill if Democrats remain united against it. If Corker were the lone GOP dissenter, the bill would pass 51-49.

With time needed to rewrite portions of the bill to satisfy the Corker contingent, Republican leaders opted to postpone further votes.

Because the House passed a different tax-slashing bill, the probable effect of Senate approval - provided the House doesn't pass the Senate's version - would be a conference committee in which lawmakers from both chambers fashion a compromise that could include elements of either bill. The current Senate bill completely eliminates the federal deduction for state and local taxes, a popular benefit in the Democratic-leaning states of New York, New Jersey, California and IL as well as many wealthy suburbs nationwide. It would slash the corporate tax rate, offer more modest cuts for families and individuals and eliminate several popular deductions.

Lawmakers have said they expect the two bills to be merged into one, which will require approval by each chamber, but there is still a lingering chance that the House will take the Senate bill in the end.

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