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So, Is This Tax Bill Gonna Pass or What?

By Dustin Rowles | Podcasts | November 16, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Podcasts | November 16, 2017 |

The Republicans in Congress (and Donald Trump) need this tax bill to pass like they’ve never needed anything to pass before. If it fails, the Trump Administration will have completed its first year with zero major legislative victories and will head into an election year looking like ineffective, incompetent boobs. They’ve got majority control of both Houses and the White House, and they still can’t get anything through?

On the other hand, if they do pass tax reform, will they not get their asses handed to them anyway? It’s an incredibly unpopular bill (even among Republicans) that everyone knows is designed to give tax cuts to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and health care (which was the number one issue to Virginians in last week’s election), so would passage of it not hurt GOP prospects in 2018?

Or is this a case where the GOP knows it’s gonna get creamed in 2018 because Trump is at the top of the ticket, so they’re just trying to get a win for their donors (fuck the constituents) while they still have a majority?

Given all of this, the question is: Will it pass? Trying to ram a backdoor repeal of Obamacare through certainly doesn’t seem to help, especially given the popularity of the Affordable Care Act (sign ups are more than double so far what they were last year at this time), and it puts Senators like Lisa Murkowski more firmly on the fence.

But here’s the deal: There is a contingent of Republicans in the House from Jersey and New York that have already aligned against it (because of the state and local tax deductions). That’s not going to be enough. It’s probably going to get through the House, and it’s probably going to pass today.

That leaves it up to the Senate. Again, they need 50 votes (assuming Pence breaks the tie). There are 52 Republicans. They can only lose two.

Susan Collins is almost certainly out (yay Susan!)

Yesterday, Ron Johnson said that he wouldn’t back it.

Senator Murkowski is very iffy on it, and she’s not a fan of commingling tax reform and health care.

Senator McCain is also iffy on it because he doesn’t believe, again, that it’s going through regular order (odds that he votes Yay anyway? 50/50)

Corker and Flake hate Trump, do not care about their future prospects (because they have retired), and they don’t like the idea of running up deficits. They’re iffy as hell, and you gotta believe they’d love to stick it to Trump if they are given a legitimate reason to do so.

So, that’s two definite outs (for now) and at least four iffys. Here’s where it gets even more complicated: Roy Moore. If Congress doesn’t ram this through before a new Senator is sworn in, they’re looking at the possibility of having only 51 Republicans (Doug Jones is now leading in the polls in Alabama). At that point, the GOP could only lose two. That is why Mitch McConnell is trying to pull some sleazy shit in Alabama to avoid losing that 52nd Republican. They’re apparently talking about asking Luther Strange — who is currently filling that Alabama seat until the special election — to resign, which would somehow trigger a new special election. I don’t know how that works, or why it would work, but that is completely fucked up and basically goes drastically against the principles of our Democracy. You can’t just call for a new election when your guy is losing. Imagine the precedent it would set. This is essentially what happened in the last season of House of Cards. If McConnell pulls that off, it opens the door for Trump in 2020 to, potentially, postpone an election he knows he will lose.

It will irrevocably fuck up our electoral process.

And that’s where we are, folks. The tax reform bill looks shaky as hell, and the Republicans may be willing to screw over the Democratic process in order to give them a better shot at passing a hugely unpopular bill that would benefit the few and the wealthy.

You folks might wanna get on the horn to your representatives.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.