- The House on Tuesday afternoon voted to pass the GOP tax bill.
- But a Senate rule then forced Republicans to drop two provisions in the bill.
- Since the House passed a bill different from the one the Senate will vote on, the House must revote on the final version, most likely on Wednesday.
The House will be forced to vote for a second time on the GOP tax bill because a Senate rule forced Republicans to change it hours after leaders celebrated what appeared to be a massive legislative victory.
The House on Tuesday voted to pass the version of the tax bill that came out of the bicameral conference committee, appearing to pave the way for the Senate to pass it later in the night.
But three pieces of the bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, were deemed to violate the so-called Byrd rule and must be removed before the Senate can vote on the legislation.
The House will now have to vote on this latest version so that both chambers pass an identical bill.
A representative for the House Ways and Means Committee said the chamber would take up this version, expected to pass the Senate, on Wednesday.
“The Senate parliamentarian determined two minor provisions do not have budgetary impacts and had to be removed from the bill,” the representative told Business Insider. “The Senate will still vote tonight, and the House will vote tomorrow to send the final bill to the president’s desk.”
Republicans are using a process known as budget reconciliation to pass the bill without being subject to a Democratic filibuster. But that also means the legislation must comply with the Byrd rule, which stipulates that it must not be projected to add to the federal debt outside of 10 years and that all its provisions must deal with the budget.
The parliamentarian, a sort of umpire for Senate rules, determined that three elements of the bill violated the Byrd rule:
- The name. The short name of the bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, appears to be placed incorrectly in the legislation.
- Changes to the so-called 529 savings plan. The bill would have allowed money in the college-savings accounts to be used for homeschooling supplies.
- The exemption for small colleges from a new excise tax. The bill had proposed a tax on college and university endowments exceeding $US500,000 for every student enrolled, but it included a provision that would have exempted those with fewer than 500 tuition-paying students. The parliamentarian struck only the words “tuition-paying,” the Ways and Means representative said.
Even with the delay, the bill is expected to make it to President Donald Trump’s desk before the GOP’s self-imposed Christmas deadline.
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