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Trump, GOP leaders ready for tax reform victory in U.S. House

Published: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 @ 10:00 PM

With the outcome seemingly in hand, President Donald Trump will go to Capitol Hill on Thursday morning to meet with House GOP lawmakers, as Republicans get ready to vote for a sweeping tax reform package which would deliver close to $1.5 trillion in tax relief over the next ten years to individuals and businesses.

"Tax cuts are getting close!" the President tweeted on Monday night.

Mr. Trump will trek to Capitol Hill hours before the tax reform vote in the House, where he will give a pre-vote pep talk to GOP lawmakers who have made clear they are eager to get on with the business of tax cuts and tax reform.

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"It's about time we get something real done for the American people," said Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), as the GOP Congress has struggled to deliver on the Trump agenda in 2017.

While GOP leaders are confident that they have the votes to win, there will certainly be Republicans who won't be on board with the tax plan, many of them unhappy with the end of deductions for state and local taxes, except for a $10,000 write-off allowed on property taxes.

"I want nothing more than to vote for a tax plan that unleashes our country’s full economic potential, but not if it’s paid for by my constituents," said Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY), one of a group of Republicans from New York and New Jersey who are ready to vote against the tax reform bill.

"Unfortunately, I do not believe the current tax bill being considered by the House ensures that New York families will be better off," said Rep. John Faso (R-NY).

While Republicans should be able to overcome those objections in the House, the picture quickly became muddy in the Senate, even as a key committee there was working its way through a newly revised tax reform measure.

The first sign of dissent came from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who said he opposes the details on how pass-through businesses are treated in both the House and Senate versions of the tax reform bill.

Johnson wasn't ruling out that he would back the bill, but made clear he wants changes.

"These businesses truly are the engines of innovation and job creation throughout our economy, and they should not be left behind," Johnson said.

Other GOP Senators who might not be in support of the current version of tax reform include Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

A vote in the full Senate would not happen until after Thanksgiving; the Senate Finance Committee is expected to approve a plan this week - then it will be time to count votes.

As for Collins, she has made clear that the addition of the repeal of the individual mandate under the Obama health law does not help the bill's prospects in her mind, saying on Wednesday that it "does not make sense."

So, while Thursday may bring a big victory in the House - and for the President - Republicans hope it's not a repeat of health care, where the House passed a bill, and the Senate was unable to do the same.

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