Trump predicts 'monumental' tax bill will pass next week, amid uncertainty in Senate
Trump predicts ‘monumental’ tax bill will pass next week, amid uncertainty in Senate
President Trump on Friday predicted Congress would pass a sweeping bill to reform the country’s tax system next week, even as several Republican senators remain on the fence.
As he departed the White House on Friday for a speech at the FBI academy, the president told reporters he has seen the details of the final version and is confident Republicans will get behind it.
“I have seen it,” he said. “I think it’s going to do very, very well. I think that we are going to be in a position to pass something as early as next week, which will be monumental.”
The House and Senate have passed separate tax bills, but they have been working to blend them into a final $1.5 trillion GOP tax reform legislation. Republicans signed off on a version Friday, before likely final votes in both chambers in next week.
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters he expects the text of the bill to be posted at 5:30 p.m. EST on Friday when the House comes into session.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is now expected to be a yes, sources said Friday afternoon, after expressing concern over the size of a child tax credit.
Meanwhile, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker and Utah Sen. Mike Lee are still undecided on whether to support the bill, the sources said.
Rubio and Lee had indicated in recent days they were holding back support for the final unless a larger child tax credit is included.
Rubio tweeted Friday he can “only support” the bill if the child tax credit is “increased.”
Conn Carroll, a spokesman for Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee, also said Lee is “undecided” on the bill in its current form.
“Sen. Lee continues to work to make the [child tax credit] as beneficial as possible to American working families,” Carroll said.
Rubio and Lee have advocated for a $3,000 tax credit per child in the bill.
“My requests have been reasonable and direct,” Rubio told Fox News on Thursday, saying the Republican leadership is aware of his demands.
On Friday, the president seemed optimistic he could win over Rubio and Lee.
“I think they’ll be great,” he said. “They’re great people. They want to see it done. I know them very well. I know how they feel. These are great people and they want to see it done, and they want to see it done properly.”
Rubio’s opposition comes at a bad time for Senate Republicans, with two of them missing votes this week because of illness.
John McCain of Arizona, who is 81, is at a Washington-area military hospital being treated for the side effects of brain cancer treatment, and 80-year-old Thad Cochran of Mississippi had a non-melanoma lesion removed from his nose earlier this week. GOP leaders are hopeful they will be available next week.
“Of course we all wish for Sen. McCain to have a great health for as long as possible,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said on Fox News on Friday. “My sense is that everybody’s made a commitment to be there next week. And we will certainly be able to have the vote. Our prayers go to him and his family.”
Republicans, with a 52-48 majority in the Senate, can only afford to lose two votes in the Senate. Vice President Mike Pence would have to break a tie in that case.
Senior congressional aides told Fox News late Thursday that the final bill leaves in place a deduction for the interest on student loans and would not start taxing graduate school tuition waivers.
Brady also confirmed Thursday that the final legislation would reduce the top tax rate to 37 percent from 39.6 percent.
The final package slashes the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. The initial Senate and House bills had set it at 20 percent.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.