Trump Pushes for Tax Overhaul as Key Senate Votes Loom

Violet Powell
November 29, 2017

President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans are scrambling to change a GOP tax bill in an effort to win over holdout GOP senators and pass a tax package by the end of the year.

Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate, meaning they can only lose two dissenters, with Vice President Mike Pence poised to vote for the changes in the event of a 50-50 tie.

President Donald Trump is barnstorming Capitol Hill Tuesday on a huge day for his presidency and the Republican Party, desperate to inspire and cajole GOP senators to pass a controversial tax reform bill and salvage an unproductive legislative political year.

The legislation faces an open amendment process on the Senate floor that may spell substantial changes before a final vote that's expected Thursday.

It is not strictly necessary to pass the tax bill through the Senate Budget Committee, where Republicans are hoping to combine the tax bill with a provision allowing for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

A number of senators however, including Republicans Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Bob Corker of Tennessee, still have problems with the legislation. Sen.

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. They called the plan a "scam" and urged senators to vote no. Aides said tax writers were working to change the tax rate for non-corporate businesses, preserve an individual deduction for property tax payments, and incorporate Corker's tax revenue idea. All three men are undecided on the pending Republican tax bill. "It's just a justification to let those who have argued that they don't believe in increasing the deficit actually vote for a bill which does exactly that", Merkley said. But the bill repealed the deduction for income or sales taxes. "We've got four-and-a-half hours", Corker told CNN's Manu Raju ahead of the crunch Budget Committee meeting.

2 Acting Directors Fight to Lead US Consumer Watchdog
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McConnell says he can't recall turning down an opportunity to visit White House.

The Alexander-Murray bill has enough support in the Senate but has been blocked by GOP leadership.

The Republican president told reporters Tuesday that they were in a "very good position" after the Senate Budget Committee's passage of the GOP tax plan.

Trump also portrays the meeting as being with Democrats "Chuck and Nancy". Republicans in the two chambers would have to come to an agreement on a consensus bill.

When asked if she is now more likely to support the bill, Collins said that is a "fair assumption".

"If we could take the entire individual side of this, throw it in the trash can, and take it directly to the incinerator, I would be thrilled", he said.

Massachusetts Gas Prices Down 5 Cents this Week
Californias average of $3.191 is 52 cents higher than a year ago, with 12 cents of that due to a state tax increase last month. The highest average price can be found in the Ann Arbor area for the fourth week in a row, where it's about $2.61 a gallon.

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