The US Republican tax plan could slam into a wall tomorrow

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesSen. Ron Johnson
  • The Senate Budget Committee is scheduled to take up the GOP tax bill on Tuesday.
  • GOP Sen. Ron Johnson said that without changes he will not vote for the bill in committee.
  • Since Republicans only have a one-vote majority in the Committee, Johnson’s defection would prevent the bill from making it to the Senate floor.

Senate Republican leaders have little time in which to come up with a change to their tax bill, or the measure could stumble on a key procedural hurdle.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, one of two public “no” votes on the Senate tax bill, named the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), told reporters Monday that unless there are changes made to the bill he plans to vote against the plan in the Senate Budget Committee.

Given that Republicans hold only a one-seat advantage in the Committee, Johnson’s vote would be enough to prevent the bill from making it to the full Senate floor.

“We are working diligently to fix the problems,” Johnson told Wisconsin reporters. “If we develop a fix prior to committee, I will vote yes. If not, I will vote no.”

Johnson raised issues with the treatment of pass-through businesses like limited liability companies and S-corporations compared to C-corporations. According to Johnson, pass-throughs do not get the same level of benefit from the plan as C-corporations.

Johnson and fellow GOP defector Steve Daines said this means the TCJA favours large multinational businesses over small businesses.

GOP leaders are working to make adjustments to the pass-through provisions there is little time left since the Senate Budget Committee is set to take up the TCJA Tuesday afternoon.

Additionally, another Republican member of the Budget Committee – Sen. Bob Corker – has brought up issues with the tax bill and so far has not committed to a vote either way in the Committee.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch, the author of the Senate TCJA, told reporters on Monday that he was “very concerned” about the outcome of the Budget Committee vote, but that it will ultimately be fine.

Talking to Trump

Johnson also told reporters that he has been in contact with President Donald Trump about a solution for his concerns.

“The president said, ‘Ron, you’re absolutely right, we absolutely appreciate you raising this issue and we’re going to fix this,” Johnson said.

Trump tweeted on Monday that the tax bill is undergoing changes, including to the TCJA’s treatment of pass-through businesses.

“The Tax Cut Bill is coming along very well, great support,” Trump said. “With just a few changes, some mathematical, the middle class and job producers can get even more in actual dollars and savings and the pass through provision becomes simpler and really works well!”

A spokesperson for Johnson did not immediately return a request for comment.

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