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1 GOP Senator Throws Monkey-Wrench in Tax Plan, Another Tells CBN News No Problem

Capitol Hill AS
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo)

Congressional Republicans will take their first major step toward tax reform today when they vote on their bill in the House after President Trump speaks to them on Capitol Hill.

But passing a tax bill in the Senate might be harder. One Republican there is already saying he won't vote for the tax bill as it stands now.

Even as the House gears up to pass its version of tax reform, some question whether the two chambers will be able to clear up any differences to reach consensus before Christmas. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., says yes.
"About 60-70 percent of the base policy I think we've already got common ground, and I also think some of the things that weren't in the House bill, now that we've had time to hear from the business community, do more economic modeling, some of the changes we'll even make will be well-received so that level of commonality is even higher than when it first came to the Senate," Tillis told CBN News.
Unlike the House plan, the Senate bill calls for a one-year delay in phasing in cutting the tax rate on businesses. The reason: they want to make that lower rate permanent under Senate rules. Despite that delay, Tillis says businesses will still get help on their taxes right away.
"The reason we've delayed the corporate tax rate has more to do with being able to pay for it and pass the Senate rules so that we can implement permanent policy," said Tillis. "But we are doing things that, in year-one, businesses will benefit from in terms of expensing and other things. So there is tax relief in year-one, additional tax relief in years two through 10."
Tillis says he knows from experience how much cutting the corporate tax rate can help the economy.
"I've done it before and it works. In North Carolina we focused on reducing the corporate tax rate and we went from one of the slowest-growing state economies to now one of the fastest-growing state economies."
The Senate plan also takes a step toward weakening Obamacare by repealing the individual mandate that forces people to buy insurance or pay a penalty – a move supported by conservatives in both chambers.
And on the House side, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy tells CBN News the tax reform bill is pro-growth, and looks out for both churches and families.
"It lets you put away for a future for your unborn child, which has never been done before in a tax code," says McCarthy. "And also it protects the churches. So many times we had government telling us what we can say inside our churches, a lot of people know about the Johnson Amendment, this one takes care of that."
The Johnson Amendment forbids non-profit organizations, including churches and ministries, from supporting or opposing political candidates. Republican Sen. James Lankford feels confident the final bill in both chambers will include a repeal of the Johnson Amendment.
"We feel very good about protecting the free speech rights of every American regardless of their faith, for profit, nonprofit status, whatever it may be, we feel like this is going to be the opportunity to repair this," said Lankford.
But the massive tax overhaul could be in trouble, with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson announcing he won't support it. GOP senators can only afford two "no" votes or the bill won't pass – but they remain optimistic they will have a bill on the president's desk by the end of this year.


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