With Congress Back, GOP Has 6 Potential Problems

Half-a-dozen Republican senators are wavering on tax reform, enough to kill it
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2017 2:43 PM CST
With Congress Back, GOP Has 6 Potential Problems
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Congress returned to work on Monday after the holiday break, and the stretch between now and Christmas promises to be a chaotic one. The main issue is that Republicans want to have their tax-overhaul plan on President Trump's desk before the year is out. That would be dicey enough on its own, but the Hill notes that lawmakers also need to resolve a Dec. 8 deadline to avoid a government shutdown, with the issues of immigration and health care complicating all of the above. Details and developments:

  • 6 problems: Republicans can afford to lose only two GOP votes in the Senate on the tax plan, and Axios counts six potential nays at the moment: John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Bob Corker, all of whom would seemingly relish snubbing Trump; plus Susan Collins, Ron Johnson, and a new name in the mix, Steve Daines of Montana.
  • The push: The Washington Post reports on negotiations currently underway to win over the holdouts. Johnson and Daines worry GOP leaders the most, and both senators feel the current tax plan favors corporations over other, typically smaller, businesses. Tax breaks to help the latter could result, though the leaders would then have to find ways to offset that loss in revenue.

  • Watch Alabama: Politico notes that Alabama's special election involving Roy Moore is Dec. 12, meaning there's no guarantee that Republicans will be able to hold onto that "yes" vote in the Senate.
  • Trump optimistic: "The Tax Cut Bill is coming along very well, great support," the president tweeted Monday. "With just a few changes, some mathematical, the middle class and job producers can get even more in actual dollars and savings and the pass through provision becomes simpler and really works well!" Trump was to meet with GOP tax writers on Monday, ahead of a key Senate vote on Thursday, per Reuters.
  • Shutdown: The government runs out of money on Dec. 8 unless new legislation is passed, and Democrats may use that leverage to insist that any spending plan include money to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A slew of other issues may be folded into this fight as well, including funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program. In short, the next two weeks could well define the rest of Trump's first term, writes Bob Bryan at Business Insider.
  • What else: Fights over ObamaCare funding, flood insurance, and a key spy program also may factor in to the year-end legislative free-for-all, and CNN has details on each.
(More Congress stories.)

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