Last night Senate Republicans ran into a problem with their tax cut bill. Even using the voodoo economics of dynamic scoring (assuming tax cuts will spur economic growth that will lead to higher tax revenues), the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation reported that the bill will add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years. Several true deficit hawks in the Republican ranks objected to that. So leadership went to work tweaking the bill and hope to vote on it today. We’ll see how that goes.
It is worth keeping in mind that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is on a tight timeline. Not only does he have to get this one settled and move on to pass a spending bill by next Friday in order to avoid a government shutdown, he has another deadline looming. If the tax bill passes the Senate, it has to be reconciled with the one that passed in the House, and then brought back to both bodies for another vote. McConnell is trying to get all of that done by December 20th, when the next Senator from Alabama will be seated. Should Democrat Doug Jones win that race, Republicans would have one less vote to work with.
A lot has been documented about how the Senate tax bill is horrendous public policy. But other than acknowledging that the Republican constituency that is demanding these cuts consists almost entirely of their donors, there hasn’t been much talk about the political consequences of either passing or failing to pass this bill. Last night Josh Marshall weighed in on that.
Republicans have not held any hearings on this legislation. They do not even have an actual text of the legislation. To keep the process moving forward they’ve disregarded basically all the technical analyses of the legislation. They’ve determinedly put their fingers in their ears when there’s any mention of the bad outcomes we know about pretty clearly in advance – like a big tax increase for most families in a slew of blue states which still have a lot of Republican representatives…