Some procedural hiccups are going to delay the tax reform bill getting to President Trump’s desk by a few hours.
The Senate parliamentarian has said a few minor provisions in the legislation — including, no joke, its title — violate the chamber’s procedural rules. Those provisions will have to be changed in the bill before the Senate can pass it. This will then will also require the House to pass the legislation again, even though the House already cleared the bill comfortably earlier on Tuesday.
In short: The Senate is expected to pass the tax overhaul on Tuesday night, and the House will pass it (again) on Wednesday. The vote counts still look solid. The mishap is purely procedural.
Republicans are passing their tax overhaul in the Senate using the “budget reconciliation” process, which allows a bill to advance with only 51 votes but comes with some restrictions. Those rules generally require that the tax bill’s policies directly affect federal spending and revenue and that the plan doesn’t increase the federal deficit after 10 years.
The tax bill that the House passed Tuesday has a few minor infractions, the Senate parliamentarian said, according to a statement from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the ranking member caucusing with the Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee.
The provisions relate to the use of special tax accounts for homeschooling and the criteria for determining whether a private university’s endowment should be subject to taxes, per Sanders’s office. The bill’s so-called short title — the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — was also found not to comply with the “Byrd rule” that governs reconciliation.
These are relative peanuts in the context of a $1 trillion corporate tax cut. The bulk of the bill will be untouched. It will still slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, still cut the top individual rate, still roll back the estate tax.
The GOP’s tax overhaul is moving remarkably fast by congressional standards. If Trump signs it into law later this week, it will have been introduced, passed by Congress, and signed by the president in less than two months.