On Wednesday the Senate set the stage for possible passage of its tax bill later this week, voting to start off the formal debate after a day of wheeling and dealing for enough Republican votes. On a party line where 52 - 48 vote, the Senate moved to a formal debate on the legislation of the GOP, which Republicans are hoping to pass before the end of this year so that they can take a key legislative win into the elections of 2018 after a year of disappointments on a number of other major bills. Earlier this month, the House passed its own version of tax reform. The holdouts of the Senate GOP started to line up behind tax overhaul of their party earlier in the day. But the Republican leaders still have a petition of issues to resolve before the bill gets across the finishing line which they are hoping to be by the end of this week. These types of issues include an expected ruling from the Senate parliamentarian that could rule out a companion measure for allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This is per the statement of one Senate although other sources downplayed how confusing and problematic that issue is.
Another factor, which would irritate the White House is a proposal for cutting the rate of corporate tax to 22 percent instead of 20 percent for freeing up money for a more generous child tax credit. In a key concession, the Senate Republicans came on terms to increase the tax deduction offered to businesses that do not pay any corporate taxes which are known as pass-troughs according to two GOP senators which is actually a move that is meant to win over Senators Steve Daines of Montana and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Another of the GOP holdouts, Senator Susan Collins of Maine voted for moving the bill forward after assurances that the other legislation would be passed for the stabilization of the health insurance market if the individual insurance of Obamacare mandate is abolished in the tax bill as planned. The GOP senators said that they had made progress on a trigger mechanism for the raising of taxes or cut spending that would kick in if the bill fell short of the economic growth projections that is forecasted, a change sought by Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona, Bob Corker of Tennessee and James Lankford of Oklahoma.