Senate Budget Committee sends tax bill to floor for vote

Senate Budget Committee sends tax bill to floor for vote

Republican committee members quickly left the room after the vote as Democrats complained about a lack of discussion on a bill that would overhaul the US tax code and add an estimated $1.4 trillion to the $20 trillion national debt over 10 years.

The House passed its version of tax-reform legislation on November 16, 227-205.

Congress' top Democrats abruptly pulled out of a planned meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday after he declared he didn't "see a deal" ahead with them on taxes and federal spending, casting doubt on prospects for averting a government shutdown at the end of next week.

Under the budget process Republicans are using to pass the tax bill without Democratic votes, the Budget Committee was tasked with combining the Finance Committee's tax measure with the Alaska drilling proposal from the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He wants further cuts for "pass-through" businesses that do not directly pay income taxes but instead send their earnings to their owners to be taxed as individual income. He has sought a "backstop" that would create automatic tax increases if the tax bill doesn't spur strong economic growth as Republicans have promised. The Senate plans to hold its own vote later this week, which would be followed by a bicameral conference to reconcile the two versions.

That invitation was swiftly rejected by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

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Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), as well as Moran, have voiced discomfort with the current bill's repeal of a key Affordable Care Act mandate, one that levies a hefty tax penalty on individuals who do not purchase health insurance but also helps lower premiums generally. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), who appeared with a group of Senate Democrats Tuesday that told reporters they stand ready to pursue a bipartisan tax bill with Republicans. Details were not immediately available.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson voted for the bill in the budget committee, even though he had said it does not cut taxes deeply enough for some non-corporate businesses.

The Corker concession was one of several lingering uncertainties in the bill that Senate aides said would be nailed down as the measure neared a floor vote.

President Trump and White House officials have made entreaties to some Democratic senators representing states that voted for Trump a year ago, but they have yet to convince any to support the bill. Trump said that "Chuck and Nancy" favor "illegal immigrants flooding into our Country" and are weak on crime.

Lawmakers must renew government funding before it expires on December 8 or risk a shutdown.

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