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Latest on the tax bill: GOP making major changes

Latest on the tax bill: GOP making major changes

GOP leaders toiled behind the scenes Wednesday in hopes of readying a long-anticipated tax bill for a floor debate. That unexpected turn cast into doubt the support of Corker and Flake, prompting Senate leaders to call off plans to vote Thursday night. Changes being discussed included rolling back some of the tax cuts after six years to appease deficit hawks - notably Flake and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) had secured in the bill. "That disparity between the US tax code and foreign tax rates has literally chased jobs and wages out of this country".

Corker, meanwhile, appeared subdued following the Cruz confrontation Thursday night and after other Republican senators lined up behind the bill without new provisions to shrink the deficit.

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.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had expressed confidence early in the day, but he has little margin for error with a 52-48 Republican majority. Vice President Mike Pence would break a tie. "Last night there had been a plan to include $350 billion in tax increases".

"Other countries have learned how to use their tax codes to entice US 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.

Details were sketchy but lawmakers said on Friday changes were being made to provisions dealing with the federal deduction for state and local property tax, a cut in the corporate income tax rate, the alternative minimum tax and a one-time tax on foreign profits held offshore by multinational corporations.




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.

Some Democrats agreed that US corporate taxes should be lowered, but insisted the Republican plan goes too far and would eventually trigger painful cuts to federal programs that benefit the poor and elderly in the future. Senate leaders both declared the report junk and claimed it vindicates their claim that the tax bill will pay for itself.

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.

No formal text of the Bill - still very much a work in progress - had been released just hours before a final vote, which was expected later on Friday. They had planned to include in the bill a "fiscal trigger" that would raise taxes if economic growth fell short of forecasts or budget deficits exceeded expectations. The two had voted against the GOP bill to dismantle the Obama health care law this past summer. 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. Susan Collins of ME said it was a "fair assumption" that she was likelier to support the bill after saying Trump agreed to make property taxes up to $10,000 deductible instead of eliminating that break entirely.

The House bill, meanwhile, would tax the value of tuition waivers for graduate students employed as teaching and research assistants, dramatically hiking taxes on a modestly compensated workforce. McCain said he would vote for the bill Thursday evening.

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