After strong uncertainty in the passage of the tax overhaul on Monday, Tuesday proved much more successful for Senate Republicans who managed to clear a huge hurdle on the path to full Senate consideration of the tax package.
The Senate Budget Committee gave its approval of the tax plan, while several undecided senators also said they would support it. This quick change of heart highlight the pressure Republicans are under to pass a tax overhaul, which would also represent a major legislative victory after almost a year controlling the White House and Congress.
Trump attended a meeting with GOP senators on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, where he made certain promises in an effort to secure their support. Later on, he expressed optimism that the tax plan could be passed.
“I think we’re going to get it passed. It’s going to have lots of adjustments before it ends, but the end result will be a very, very massive – the largest in the history of our country – tax cut,” Trump said.
The three major holdouts, Republican Senators Susan Collins, Bob Corker and Ron Johnson who were concerned about elements of the bill, were likewise optimistic following the meeting on Tuesday, after having received assurance by Trump that their concerns would be addressed.
“I think we’ve come to a pretty acceptable place, from my standpoint,” said Corker whose main worry is the extent to which tax cuts would add to the deficit. He said that at the meeting he had been assured in case the package doesn’t generate enough revenue, some type of trigger which requires that taxes are increased would be activated.
Several Republican lawmakers disagreed with the trigger, claiming it would automatically tie their hands.
The Senate bill still has to be reconciled with that of the House, which is a remaining hurdle. The two versions differ significantly in the scope of the tax cut they provide. Representative Kevin Brady, however, sounded confident that these differences can be overcome.
“For as much common ground as we have, there are some areas where we are taking different approaches that will be worked, and can only be worked out, in a conference,” he said.
Democrats, on the other hand, criticized Republicans for rushing to pass a bill they claim is fiscally irresponsible.
“Our Republican colleagues, in their rush to get a bill done, are legislating in an irresponsible way, especially when it comes to something as important and complex as the tax code,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schummer.