Senate Tax Bill Hits a Late-Stage Snag Over Deficit Concerns


U.S. Senate Republicans will grapple on Friday with the possibility of adding a tax increase to sweeping legislation meant to cut taxes on businesses and individuals, aiming to win support from fiscal conservatives anxious about the bill's impact on the federal deficit.

The bill got a major boost when possible holdout Sen. The measure focuses its tax reductions on businesses and higher-earning individuals, gives more modest breaks to others and offers the boldest rewrite of the nation's tax system since 1986.

The House bill, meanwhile, would tax the value of tuition waivers for graduate students employed as teaching and research assistants, dramatically hiking taxes on a modestly compensated workforce. He criticized Republicans for releasing a revised, 479-page bill that no one can absorb shortly before the final vote, saying, "The Senate is descending to a new low of chicanery".

"We have an alternative, frankly a tax increase we don't want to do, to try and address Senator Corker's concerns", said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, the chamber's No. 2 Republican.

The Joint Committee on Taxation said the bill would cost $1.4 trillion and raise only $458 billion in offsetting revenue, figures that have bothered GOP lawmakers concerned with the debt.

"While the GOP claims it will help hardworking middle-class families, the fact is they will see their taxes go up over a decade", Cortez Masto said in a statement on social media.

No Democrats voted for the bill, but they were unable to block it because Republicans hold a 52-48 Senate majority.

Other issues under discussion included if the 20 percent corporate tax rate might be raised, the extent of the child-tax credit, and the tax rate for small businesses.

Democrats have been united in their opposition to the bill, calling it a giveaway to the wealthy and corporations.

On Saturday, Bishop Frank Dewane, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said further analysis and recommendations from the bishops would be forthcoming, but "Congress must act now to fix the fundamental flaws found in both bills, and choose the policy approaches that help individuals and families struggling within our society".

"The Republican tax bill has made a mockery of the Democratic process", Schumer said.

"We think we're going to get it done by the end of the year", she said.

Success is crucial to Republican political prospects in the November 2018 elections, when the party will fight to keep control of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Because the House passed a different tax-slashing bill, the probable effect of Senate approval - provided the House doesn't pass the Senate's version - would be a conference committee in which lawmakers from both chambers fashion a compromise that could include elements of either bill.

The changes added almost $300 billion to the tax bill's costs.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that eliminating the mandate would result in 4 million fewer people with insurance in 2019 and 13 million fewer people insured by 2027.