Senate Republicans Scramble to Rewrite Tax Bill After New Snags

Senate Republicans were scrambling to rewrite their tax overhaul legislation on Thursday night after Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) almost voted to send the bill back to the finance committee. The three deficit hawks voted to move forward with the legislation, however, even though the Senate’s parliamentarian ruled that the bill could not include a so-called trigger mechanism that the senators were pushing for. That provision would have mitigated the $1.5 trillion addition to the federal deficit over the next 10 years by triggering tax hikes if economic growth projections are not met. “It doesn’t look like the trigger is going to work, according to the parliamentarian, so we have an alternative, frankly: a tax increase we don’t want to do to try to address Sen. Corker’s concerns,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters. Corker said the bill was being altered to “automatically put [tax hikes] in, period.” The Senate was set to continue debating the legislation into the night on Thursday, but the next roll call vote was scheduled for Friday morning as the legislation undergoes potentially changes.

—Andrew Desiderio