A major hurdle was crossed for the GOP tax bill that has been debated for some time now. The Senate voted 52-48 in a party line vote to move the legislation forward for a debate says the Washington Post. This is an early signal of the potential strength of the vote on the bill, but it is far from a guarantee of passage. There are still several Senators who have made no qualms about talking about their reservations about voting for final passage of the legislation.
Voting to open up the debate on the bill allows Senators to add amendments to the bill that may help them to vote for final passage. However, there is always the risk that some Senators adding certain amendments could cause others to back off of their support for the legislation.
There are some major issues with the legislation that wary Republicans continue to bring up from time to time. For example, they do not want the legislation to drive up the federal deficit too high. They know that the way that the tax cuts are structured within the bill could benefit only small groups of people, and those groups pay a lot of the taxes as things stand right now. Cutting their taxes too much could blow a hole in the federal budget.
Another issue that is always top of mind for politicians is what this vote could mean for their political future. Senators in states in which the political divide is narrow have to consider how voters back home may respond to their vote on this legislation when it comes time to vote again in November.
The tax reform proposal that the Senators are voting on now has been a top priority for the Trump White House ever since the man took office. Although other legislation has already failed in this administration, most suspected that this particular legislation would succeed. The drive to get this particular policy objective completed has simply been too strong to ignore.
Senators are set to vote on final passage of the bill by week’s end unless that vote gets pushed back for some reason. If all Democrats vote against the bill as expected, then the Republicans can only afford to lose two votes on the legislation and still have it pass via a tie-breaker vote from the Vice-President. That being said, Republicans would like to have all of the margin that they can afford on this one.