WASHINGTON, D.C. – There has been more than a little anticipation of the final passing votes for a long promised tax cut bill championing by President Trump over the last year.
Well, with votes scheduled in the House on Tuesday and the Senate later this week, the time is here. The expectation that the tax cuts will pass and leave more money in Americans’ pockets, and allow more revenues to reach the bottom line of corporations’ balance sheets, has been reflected in the stock market’s optimism.
The DOW made a record 70th all-time high on Monday, tacking on 5,000 points over the last 12 months – something that has never been done before.
As expected the legislation is not the ‘root and branch’ reform that some hoped for, but it stands to be a significant restructuring nonetheless. So will it get to the president’s desk before Christmas? According to most, it should be smooth sailing:
“The bill appears to have a fairly smooth path to passage.
In the House, a handful of Republican lawmakers have said they will vote against the bill. They are predominately from states like New York and California, where many residents are expected to lose a substantial amount of the benefit from the state and local tax deduction.
But just 13 Republicans voted against the bill when it first came through the House, and the GOP can afford to lose as many as 22 votes in that chamber.
The Senate will be slightly more complicated, said Isaac Boltansky, an analyst at the research firm Compass Point, but only because of technical rules.
The issue at hand is the so-called Byrd rule, which prevents lawmakers from adding provisions that don’t deal with the budget to legislation considered under budget reconciliation, the process the GOP is using to pass the tax bill.
Reconciliation allows Republicans to pass the bill with a simple majority. But it also means Democrats can challenge some of its provisions under the tightened rules.
“Debate in the Senate is limited to 10 hours, but Democrats are likely to use at least some of that time to procedurally challenge whether certain elements of the package conform to the Byrd Rule’s requirements,” Boltansky said in a note to clients Tuesday.
He added: “Democratic challenges could conceivably prove to be speed bumps in the GOP’s drive to tax reform in 2017, but our sense is that a material delay is highly unlikely.”
While technicalities could slow down the process, Republicans almost certainly have enough votes to pass the bill.
The absence of Sen. John McCain, who has returned to Arizona to receive treatment for complications stemming from brain cancer, whittles the GOP’s majority down to 51-48.
But key holdouts — including Republican Sens. Bob Corker, Susan Collins, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee — have all said in recent days that they will vote for the bill, leaving Sen. Jeff Flake as the only Republican to not formally announce an intention to vote for it.
“We continue to believe that the president will sign the tax bill this week, which should provide members of both parties with wide latitude to use painful Christmas puns liberally,” Boltansky concluded.”
If Trump is able to sign the long awaited tax bill before Santa Claus makes his trip down the chimney, it, along with all of the other overlooked accomplishments of his first year in office, should give Republican’s some positive momentum going into 2018 mid-term elections.