Jeff Flake sends a warning shot on the Senate tax reform bill

  • Senate Republicans released their version of the GOP tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • Sen. Jeff Flake expressed concerns about the amount of debt that could be added from the implementation of the legislation.

Sen. Jeff Flake expressed concern about the Senate GOP’s tax reform bill, signalling potential trouble ahead as Republicans race in their attempt to overhaul the federal tax code.

In the statement, Flake said he appreciated the attempt to reform the tax code but said he was worried about its potential effect on the national debt.

“I remain concerned over how the current tax reform proposals will grow the already staggering national debt by opting for short-term fixes while ignoring long-term problems for taxpayers and the economy,” Flake’s statement said. “We must achieve real tax reform crafted in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Flake has been highly critical of President Donald Trump and recently announced he would not run for reelection in 2018.

Flake’s concerns are indicative of a possible tripping point for the Senate bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Other GOP senators, such as Bob Corker, have also expressed concern with the potential impact to the deficit and debt.

The bill can only add $US1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years, per Senate rules. White House leaders like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have long said the tax bill will pay for itself after adjusting for increased economic growth from its tax cuts.

The House’s version of the TCJA would still add roughly $US1 trillion worth of debt, even accounting for economic growth, according to multiple independent analyses.

While the bill can pass on a party-line vote and without being blocked by a Democratic filibuster, Republicans only hold 52 seats in the Senate. Leaders can only afford two defections for the bill to pass.

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