House Republicans were able to pass their tax bill with no votes from Democrats and thirteen dissenters on their own team, but the bill faces an uncertain future in Senate.
Republicans only have a 52-48 majority in Senate, meaning that they can’t afford to lose more than two votes if they want to pass any bill. A number of Senators have already spoken out against the tax proposal—and here are seven Republicans who could kill it outright.
Susan Collins, Maine
Collins isn’t a firm no on the tax bill, but she won’t vote for it as is. "I want to see changes in that bill, and I think there will be changes," she said Sunday on ABC’s This Week.
Collins said she won’t support any bill that repeals an Obamacare requirement to have health insurance or face a penalty. She’d also like to see high-risk pools for insurance for less healthy people included in the bill, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday that the repeal of the Obamacare mandate was not a bargaining chip in negotiations.
Collins would also like to keep the tax rate on individuals who make $1 million or more per year at 39.6 percent and make individual tax breaks, not just corporate breaks, permanent. Under the current bill, tax cuts for some middle class Americans would expire in eight years.
Additionally, she’d like to restore a deduction for state and local taxes that was removed in the current tax bill and wants the bill to tax corporations at 22 percent instead of the proposed 20 percent.
"I’m not going to make a final decision on the tax bill until I look at all of the provisions," Collins said.
Bob Corker, Tennessee
Corker will not seek reelection in 2018, allowing him to vote however he wants, without having to worry about political fallout or party loyalty.
Corker is a known deficit hawk who won’t vote for any tax plan that adds “one penny to the deficit,” he said.
The Joint Committee on Taxation found that the Senate tax bill would add $1.5 trillion to the national debt, but Mnuchin insists that the plan will stimulate enough growth to pay for its cost.
“This isn't about the deficit because we think this is all about creating growth and we'll create economic growth to pay down the deficit,” Mnuchin said on Sunday.
Jeff Flake, Arizona
Flake, who is also retiring at the end of his current term, is another deficit hawk.
“I remain concerned over how the current tax reform proposals will grow the already staggering national debt by opting for short-term fixes while ignoring long-term problems for taxpayers and the economy,” he said in a statement last week.
Flake, who has been critical of President Trump, was called out by POTUS on Twitter.
“Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of Arizona (quit race, anemic polls) was caught (purposely) on ‘mike’ saying bad things about your favorite President. He’ll be a NO on tax cuts because his political career anyway is ‘toast,’” wrote Trump.
Flake’s spokesperson said Trump jumped the gun.
“Senator Flake is still reviewing the tax reform bill on its merits,” Flake's flack told Reuters. “How he votes on it will have nothing to do with the president.”
Ron Johnson, Wisconsin
Johnson was the first Republican senator to explicitly come out against the tax plan.
Johnson is a conservative and a trained accountant who is typically in favor of cutting taxes, but he said this bill helps large, multinational corporations at the detriment of small business here at home.
He takes issue with the way the bill treats “pass-through entities”or people who pass their business income on to their individual income tax return. The majority of American businesses operate this way and half of all American workers are employed by them.
In the Senate bill, pass-through entities are allowed to deduct just over 17% of their business income, which leaves pass-throughs paying a far higher rate than corporations. That means Apple gets a better tax rate than the local corner store.
“If they can pass it without me, let them,” said Johnson in an interview last week. “I’m not going to vote for this tax package.”
John McCain, Arizona
McCain voted against President Bush’s tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 because he believed they favored the wealthy and would add to the deficit. He still stands behind his decision. “The deficit went up,” McCain said. “Guess what? I was right.”
On Friday, McCain applauded the "much-needed tax relief for hardworking American families," but was only supporting the Senate’s use of regular order while writing and debating the bill. He hasn’t indicated whether he’ll vote for or against it.
Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
Murkowski is a moderate Republican who voted against the Obamacare "Skinny Repeal" in September.
She has indicated that she’s against the tax bill’s repeal of the Obamacare mandate and has suggested that she won’t vote for the bill unless the Senate passes a separate bill to stabilize the individual health insurance market.
Rand Paul, Kentucky
So far, Paul has indicated that he supports the tax bill, but will have no problem voting against Senate leadership if he disagrees with any of the bill's provisions.
Paul has said that he wants to see the corporate tax rate lowered from 20 percent to 15 percent, a wish that is highly unlikely to be granted. He has also expressed concern over repealing the ability of taxpayers to deduct their state and local taxes.
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