Just hours after Sen. Rand Paul announced he would vote 'yes' on the Senate's tax-reform plan, handing the White House a win, a second Republican senator has publicly declared his intention to vote against the bill, joining Wisconsin's Ron Johnson in opposition.
And that senator is: Montana's Steve Daines.
According to Politico, Daines and Johnson have similar objections: They both believe the bill is too generous to corporations while not doing enough to help small businesses, many of which would benefit from a more charitable pass-through rate. For "pass-through” entities, taxes are generally filed through the individual income tax code and not the corporate tax code.
There are millions of these entities, and they are most often sole proprietorships, limited liability companies or partnerships.
Daines reportedly discussed his reservations about the bill with President Trump over the weekend.
According to the Washington Post, GOP leaders are working on a change to the bill that would assuage Daines' and Johnson's concerns. However, there's one potential snag: Such changes could also personally benefit Trump, who has stakes in many business partnerships that are taxed at the pass-through rate.
Still, even if the White House manages to win back Daines and Johnson, there are at least seven other senators who are either undecided or leaning toward a no. Only three Republican no votes would be needed to sink the bill, assuming no Democrats defect.
Per the Hill, they are:
Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.) - Corker told reporters he wouldn’t vote for a bill that raises the deficit.
Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) - Collins told reporters she is “still trying to change” the Senate bill.
Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) - “I remain concerned over how the current tax reform proposals will grow the already staggering national debt by opting for short-term fixes while ignoring long-term problems for taxpayers and the economy,” Flake said in a statement. “We must achieve real tax reform crafted in a fiscally responsible manner. I look forward to working with my colleagues during a full and robust debate on the Senate floor to deliver on that goal.” Flake is retiring after his term.
Sen. James Lankford (Okla.) - Lankford said in a Nov. 27 news conference that he would like to support the bill but has concerns about the debt.
Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) - McCain praised the Senate Finance Committee for moving the bill through regular order, but has also raised concerns about the impact on the deficit.
Sen. Jerry Moran (Kan.) - Moran told constituents over the Thanksgiving recess that he has “encouraged the leadership” to drop the repeal of the individual mandate and questioned the bill's impact on the deficit. Moran also raised concerns about a provision of the House bill that would tax qualified tuition waivers as income.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) - Murkowski backs a measure to repeal the ObamaCare individual insurance mandate in the tax bill, but has not offered support for the full bill.
Unfortuantely for GOP leaders, Daines's opposition is just the latest sign that tax reform's chances of passing by year end are virtually nonexistent.