Speed Reads

GOP tax plan

Senate Republicans are rewriting major parts of their tax plan after Thursday night setbacks

The Senate Republican tax overhaul appeared heading to party-line approval on Thursday evening when a few things happened that derailed the vote until Friday.

First, the official congressional Joint Committee on Taxation found that the $1.63 trillion plan would add $1 trillion to the federal deficit even when accounting for economic growth. That led to three Republican senators — Bob Corker (Tenn.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), and Ron Johnson (Wis.) — considering approving a Democratic amendment to send the entire bill back to the Finance Committee for a rewrite, until a scrum of GOP senators convinced them to vote against the measure. And then the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, ruled that a proposed deficit-limiting "trigger" provision was not allowed under rules Republicans are relying on to pass the measure with no Democratic votes.

Corker and two other Republicans had insisted on such a mechanism to prevent the bill from blowing a hole in the deficit if the GOP's growth estimates fell short, as the JCT analysis predicted they would. Corker was heard on the floor telling GOP leaders "the problem" and "one trillion off." Republicans are working overnight to add as much as $500 billion in revenue to the bill, with options including a rules-compliant trigger, incremental increases in the corporate tax rate, and keeping an alternative minimum tax for some wealthy individuals and corporations.

The voting will begin again at 11 a.m. Friday morning.