President Donald Trump and Republican leaders unveiled a nine-page framework to rewrite the nation’s tax code this week to rave reviews from within their party. But now the hard part starts — with the tax-writing committees in the House and Senate tasked with settling some of the most divisive issues.
Questions from whether to set a rate above 35 percent for top earners to how to limit corporate interest deductions could easily fracture the GOP. With 52 senators in their ranks and little hope of Democratic support, Republicans can’t afford to lose more than two members to get a bill passed. They also can’t afford another legislative loss following their failure to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
“There’s no question that there’s certainly comfort in margins, and we don’t have margins for error. And so each individual senator is very empowered when it comes to a big issue like this,” No. 3 GOP Senator John Thune of South Dakota said, referring to the tax overhaul. “As we’ve seen now a couple different times, it’s very easy to take a big bill like this down.”
The fate of Trump’s promise of a historic tax revamp could be determined by six key Republican senators: Bob Corker, John McCain, Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Orrin Hatch and Susan Collins. Some in the group have already laid out their demands for a tax bill. Here’s a closer look at those senators, whose actions will be crucial to getting a tax bill across the finish line:
Having announced he’ll retire after the 2018 election, the deficit hawk is free to chart his path. And the two-term Tennessee senator is setting down a marker, insisting he won’t support a tax bill that adds to the deficit. That could make meeting Trump’s promise for massive tax cuts difficult.
Corker recently struck a deal with Toomey paving the way for budget legislation that would allow for huge tax cuts in theory,…