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Trump's tax bill faces potential Senate Republican opposition

Trump's tax bill faces potential Senate Republican opposition
From Reuters - November 27, 2017

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Senate Republican tax bill strongly backed by President Donald Trump faced potential opposition on Monday from two Republican lawmakers who could prevent the sweeping legislation from reaching the Senate floor.

Senators Ron Johnson and Bob Corker, both members of the Senate Budget Committee, said they could vote against the tax package at a Tuesday hearing that Republican leaders hoped would send the legislation to a full Senate vote as early as Thursday. Each senator is seeking different changes to the legislation.

Their opposition could create the first major hurdle for the Republican tax overhaul in the Senate, where political infighting killed the partys effort to overturn the Obamacare healthcare law earlier this year.

Corker, a prominent deficit hawk, said he wants his fellow Republicans to add a backstop measure to prevent tax cuts from ballooning the deficit. Johnson said he wants a bigger tax break for pass-through businesses, which include small mom-and-pop enterprises as well as some large, non-corporate businesses.

If we develop a fix prior to committee, Ill probably support it, but if we dont, Ill vote against it, Johnsons office quoted him telling reporters in his home state of Wisconsin.

Republicans have only a one-vote majority on the 23-member budget committee.

The potential no votes surfaced after Congress Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated the Republican bill would expand the $20 trillion national debt by $1.4 trillion over a decade.

Republicans have said that economic growth spurred by tax cuts would generate enough new tax revenue to eliminate any new deficit. But Corker said JCT is not expected to release a full macroeconomic analysis of the tax bill ahead of a Senate vote, making a safeguard provision necessary.

Im not threatening anything. Im just saying its very important for me to know that weve got this resolved, Corker told reporters. Asked if he could vote no on the tax bill at the committee hearing, he replied: Very possible. Yeah. Sure.

Corker and other Republican deficit hawks, including Senator James Lankford, have been holding talks with Senate tax writers and the administration about adding a provision that would raise tax rates if revenues fall short of expectations.

We cant afford to ignore the debt and deficit issues, Lankford told reporters. To me, the big issue is how are we dealing with debt and deficit, do we have realistic numbers and is there a backstop in the process just in case we dont.

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