- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Republican senators on Wednesday said Democrats upset with the expiring individual tax cuts in their modified plan can always vote to make them permanent.

Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch said his new plan is consistent with budget rules, which say provisions must be made temporary if they add to long-term deficits.

“However if — once the bill is on the floor — my Democratic colleagues want to offer an amendment to waive the budget act to make the individual rates permanent, they likely won’t get much resistance from the Republican side,” Mr. Hatch said as his committee considered the plan Wednesday.

Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, echoed Mr. Hatch.

“We can make the individual side permanent — all it takes is a few Democrats to vote with us to do that,” Mr. Thune said.

Democrats have been adamant in saying they won’t do anything to assist the GOP’s tax-cut bill, arguing its priorities are skewed.

Sen. Ron Wyden, the committee’s ranking Democrat, said he does intend to offer an amendment dealing with the individual tax cuts during floor debate.

“What we object to is what is on offer now, which is permanent relief for the multinational corporations and temporary relief for the middle class. That’s a double standard that favors the powerful [against] families,” Mr. Wyden said.

Without Democratic support, the GOP is forced to use fast-track budget rules to pass their plan without having to face a filibuster. But that also means complying with budget rules that limit the overall cost of the tax cuts.

In this case, the cuts are limited to $1.5 trillion over the next decade, and cannot lead to new deficits in the subsequent decade either. In order to meet those goals, Mr Hatch’s latest plan would end the individual tax cuts after 2025, though it would keep the corporate tax rates permanent.

Republicans acknowledged the move was a gimmick designed to comply with budget rules, and said they have no intention of letting taxes go up on individuals as of 2025.

If enough Democrats were to get on board, though, the GOP says it wouldn’t need to use the budget process, which would mean they could make the tax cuts permanent.

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