Nov 29, 2017

Some Republicans oppose the Corker "trigger" in tax plan

Sen. Chuck Grassley arrives at the Capitol in Washington. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Republicans are starting to argue against the fiscal trigger being added to the Senate GOP tax plan to appease concerns from members — including Sens. Bob Corker, James Lankford and Todd Young — who don't want to blow up the deficit as a result of overhauling America's tax code.

Why it matters: An effort to win over some holdouts on the tax plan is alienating other lawmakers on both the House and Senate side, potentially jeopardizing plans for a vote tomorrow in the upper chamber. The GOP can only afford to lose two votes, but it's still unclear whether concerned members would actually vote against a bill that includes the trigger.

The concern: Although details on the "trigger" haven't been released yet, some Republicans are raising questions about whether it would eventually lead to a hike in taxes, which could spook business' outlook for economic growth. And that's part of the impetus behind overhauling the tax code in the first place.

The Republicans opposing the trigger:

  • Sen Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who called it bad for economic growth, per Bloomberg.
  • Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, per NBC.
  • Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, who said "I'm not too keen on automatic tax increases," per NYT.
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who said "I don't think it would look very good to have a bill to cut taxes that also signals to the world that we're just automatically going to increase taxes," per Talking Points Memo.
  • Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and drafted the House tax plan, per NYT.
  • Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity called it "antithetical to the principles of the unified tax framework," per NYT.
  • Americans for Tax Reform called it "a self-fulfilling threat to kill jobs."
  • American Conservative Union Foundation called it "bad policy and bad for the economy."

Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch told reporters, "I'd prefer not having it there. We're probably going to have one. But I'd prefer not having it," per Reuters.

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