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House Will Need to Revote on Tax Overhaul

Bill as written violates Senate rule

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Despite House Republicans’ jubilant celebration after Tuesday’s passage of the tax overhaul, the chamber will have to vote again Wednesday because the measure as written would violate Senate rules.

The issue stems from the fast-track budgetary process known as reconciliation that the GOP is using to advance it. The process allows Republicans to pass a bill with support from a simple majority. But there are rules that govern the process, including the so-called Byrd Rule, which mandates that every provision must have a budgetary impact.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, announced Tuesday that provisions in the bill violate that rule.

“In the mad dash to provide tax breaks for their billionaire campaign contributors, our Republican colleagues forgot to comply with the rules of the Senate,” the lawmakers said in a statement. “We applaud the parliamentarian for determining that three provisions in this disastrous bill are in violation of the Byrd rule.”

Wyden and Sanders said they intend to raise a point of order on these provisions, which means it would require 60 votes to overcome — an unlikely outcome given Democratic opposition to the tax measure and their 48 votes.

It is expected Senate Republicans will simply drop those provisions. But since changes were made to the conference report, the House will be required to vote again.

“Members are further advised that an additional procedural vote on the Motion to Concur is expected tomorrow morning, which will clear the bill for President Trump’s signature,” an announcement from Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office said.

The House passed 227-203 the final tax bill on Tuesday. The Senate is expected to pass it Tuesday evening.

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