Sen. Ron Johnson Is The First Republican To Oppose Tax Bill: A Sign Of Trouble For The GOP

Today’s Hill Action
Senate Floor Schedule
9:30am: Convene and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Joseph Otting to be Comptroller of the Currency.

Committee Hearings
9:00am – SH-216

Armed Services
10:00am – SD-G50

Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
10:00am – SR-253

10:00am – SD-226

2:00pm – SH-219

House Floor Schedule
9:00am: House will meet for legislative business.
First and last votes expected 1:30pm – 2:30pm.

Committee Hearings
Energy and Commerce
Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
10:00am – 2123 Rayburn HOB

The Easter eggs hidden in the new Senate tax bill

The headline changes in the new Senate tax bill released late Tuesday night were a bigger child tax credit and the sunset of all individual tax cuts after 2025—but behind those, the new version of the bill includes dozens of carveouts and special provisions that will arrive like a gift for some industries and taxpayers.

Thanks in part to the complexity of the tax code, and in part to Congress’s need to stuff lots of priorities into any law likely to pass, the bill contains measures that touch on almost every part of U.S. society. Congress hasn’t legally been able to dole out pork since earmarks were banned in 2011, but there are other ways to pack goodies into a law. The newest draft of the Senate bill includes everything from a new tax credit for paid family leave to a tax break for citrus growers to a big reform of craft beer regulations—even a gift to the three largest U.S. airlines in their ongoing fight against the Gulf airlines.

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Mandate repeal sparks fears of premium hikes

The move by Senate Republicans to repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate could plunge insurance markets into uncertainty, leading to premium hikes or insurers dropping out of the market, experts say.

The mandate requires most people to either have health insurance or pay a fine. It was designed to ensure that people don’t wait until they are sick to buy health insurance, since ObamaCare also bars insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

If the mandate is repealed in the tax-reform bill, as Senate Republicans propose, the fear is that only sick people would remain enrolled in the individual market, causing premiums to spike or insurers to simply drop out of the market.

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Conservatives fear end-of-year “Christmas tree” spending bill

Conservatives are growing worried that an end-of-year spending bill will be loaded up with extraneous, expensive provisions as lawmakers rush to prevent a government shutdown and get home for the holidays next month.

“Loading up the Christmas tree right before the end of the year is never good,” said Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. “Push it off to next year, there’s too much in flux right now.”

“Once people get ready to get out the door, a lot of things become acceptable that wouldn’t in other seasons,” added Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), another Freedom Caucus member.

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Until tomorrow,
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