- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Senate on Wednesday voted to start debate on the GOP’s $1.4 trillion-plus tax overhaul package, clearing the way for a potential floor vote on the full plan later this week.

The Senate voted on a 52-48 party-line vote to start debating the package on the floor.

“Passing tax reform is the single most important thing we can do right now to shift the economy into high gear and deliver much-needed relief to American families,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Several key GOP holdouts, notably Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana, voted to move the process forward.

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Daines have been pushing for more benefits for small businesses, and Mr. Daines said ahead of Wednesday’s vote he managed to secured changes to the tune of $60 billion in cuts for “main street” businesses.

“These Main Street businesses will be able to provide more jobs and higher wages in Montana and across the country,” Mr. Daines said on Twitter. “I’ve seen enough progress to vote yes to move the debate forward.”

The broader package slashes the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and reduces tax rates for individuals, while doing away with various deductions and exemptions.

But Republicans were still negotiating Wednesday on what will be in the final package.

One outstanding issue is whether to include a “trigger” that would boost taxes or cut spending down the line if the tax cuts don’t generate the levels of economic growth Republicans are projecting.

But several senators indicated they don’t intend to gum up the works even if they don’t get everything they want in the bill.

“I’m not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and I’m not going to draw lines in the dirt,” said Sen. John Kennedy, Louisiana Republican.

Democrats, meanwhile, have cast the plan as a giveaway to the rich and have urged Republicans to slow down and allow more time for debate.

“There will be unintended consequences,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat. “The rush to get something - anything - done, will haunt my Republican colleagues in years to come, and I dare say in November of 2018.”

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