Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Establishment Senate cohorts are feeling some heat this week. The more conservative wing of the House has managed to push House Speaker Paul Ryan into a scheduled vote on a proposed tax cut bill which will then place focus on McConnell who continues to quietly push his colleagues to either delay or water down the Trump-inspired tax changes to make them little more than a symbolic gesture. Allowing Mr. Trump a significant legislative win is the last thing McConnell is said to want to be a part of – a fact the President is well aware of.
The problem for Senator McConnell is that the Trump White House is currently riding high on the success of the Asia trip and Mr. Trump is said to be more determined than ever to see a tax reform bill get through Congress before the end of the year. Further complicating matters for McConnell is a small but increasingly focused insurgency going on within the Senate itself said to be led in part by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
The former political rivals have become stronger allies of late. Though the two don’t always agree politically, Trump values Senator Paul’s honesty. The President feels when Paul gives him his word on something he can be trusted to keep that promise – a rare thing among the political swamp rats of D.C.
Whispers continue to swirl that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is considering breaking with his party and voting with Republicans on the tax cut bill. It is the White House’s hope Manchin’s example will spur a few other Democrat senators to do the same. This would add yet further pressure on McConnell to push the legislation forward to a vote soon after the House succeeds in doing so.
Within hours of AF1 setting down back in D.C. the President will travel to Congress to meet in person with the House Republican leadership. It is a meeting Speaker Paul Ryan might not have agreed to just a few months earlier but now with his own re-election bid looming in 2018 he has apparently grown more favorable to at least appearing to want to work with POTUS Trump. This move was likely further aided by growing discontent among more conservative Republicans in the House regarding what they view to be Ryan’s ineffective and Establishment-driven tenure as Speaker.
Watch for some serious work taking place between the Trump White House and leading members of Congress over the next 72-hours.
Mr. Trump is very motivated to get this tax bill done as he feels the American people don’t just deserve it but truly need it.
When the House passed a preliminary tax reform bill earlier this month the Republican Senate leadership moved quickly to slow the process. The effort has been led (again) by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The primary motivation for the delay isn’t coming from a desire for more time to further review the steps toward eventual tax reform passage but rather to muddy the waters and ultimately ensure it is as weak and ineffectual bill that will provide as little political momentum for President Trump.
That is how deep the dislike for Mr. Trump goes among some of DC’s most powerful political elite.
“He (McConnell) has no intention of seeing a potentially successful tax bill sent to the President’s desk. If something does come out of all this it will be very weak tea – nothing more.”
That is the word from a source who remains close to the ongoing tax bill deliberations.
What McConnell is doing with the tax reform debate has recent precedence – namely what became the disastrous attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. If that repeal had been successful it would have given POTUS Trump a significant political victory. McConnell and others within the GOP worked to ensure no such victory would happen – the needs of the American people be damned. They are now drawing from the very same playbook to halt needed tax reform.
Just this week McConnell told the New York Times he couldn’t promise some Middle Class Americans wouldn’t see their taxes increase under the current proposed changes to the tax code. Those remarks set off a near-instant behind-closed-doors firestorm among Republicans outraged that Mr. McConnell would be so willing to give Democrats and the media ammunition against those actually pushing for real and needed tax reform.
And just today this same Senate Republican leadership indicated it wanted to eliminate corporate tax rate deductions in the bill altogether with a half-hearted promise to revisit the issue next year. This was a direct jab at the Trump White House which has made a reduction in the corporate tax rate a centerpiece of the changes. POTUS Trump is said to be fuming at McConnell’s willingness to play games with a process that would, if done with their interest in mind, benefit millions of struggling American families and businesses.
McConnell doesn’t appear worried. He defeated the President’s desire to repeal and replace Obamacare and likely feels just as confident he’ll defeat the President again on tax reform.
In the meantime, all of America except for the special-interest elites who fund much of Washington D.C., will suffer.