The Republican senators who will decide tax reform: Where they stand

Republicans are trying to get their plan to overhaul the US tax system through the US Senate this week, but with 52 members in the chamber, GOP leaders can afford to lose only two votes.

Two Republican senators have identified themselves as nos: Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana. Just under a dozen other GOP members have vocalized their concerns about the proposal.

Here's where key Republicans stand.

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin

Johnson was the first GOP senator to say he'd vote against the plan. His concerns have surrounded the tax rate for business entities that pass-through their earnings to the individual side, a concern he repeated to reporters on Capitol Hill.

"We have to fix the pass-through issue, which we haven't done yet," Johnson said Monday.

Johnson sits on the Senate Budget Committee, where Republicans hold just a one-vote majority, and that committee is expected to vote on the plan Tuesday.

"We're going to be working tonight to see if we can't get these things fixed," Johnson told reporters. "Again, I need some parity if we pass pro-growth tax reform. But leaving pass-throughs behind is not the best way going."

Sen. Steve Daines of Montana

Daines told reporters on Capitol Hill Monday he's not able to support the measure in its current form, citing similar concerns about the pass-through business income tax rate.

He said he had a recent meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and feels "optimistic" that they'll get to a solution "but we're not there yet." How soon? He said he hopes "sooner than later." The senator tweeted Monday that he also spoke to President Donald Trump over the weekend regarding tax reform.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona

McCain applauded the Senate Finance Committee for passing the bill through "regular order" before Thanksgiving, but he hasn't said how he'll vote on the final bill. On Monday, McCain complained that the bill was changing too frequently. When asked by reporters if he liked the process, he said, "Oh, I don't know. It changes every day."

Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma

Lankford said Monday that the Senate bill needs to include a backup plan to pay for it in case the economic-growth projections conservatives are banking on don't materialize.

He says he is deeply concerned about the impact of the tax bill on the federal debt and budget deficits, especially if the 0.4% growth projections anticipated by the tax changes don't hold up. He is working with GOP leadership and members of the Senate Finance Committee to craft a "what if" plan in case they don't.

"What if the growth estimates don't hit 0.4%? What happens? What should happen in the tax code to make adjustments? Every economist is guessing," he said at a Capitol news conference. "We should build in the 'what if.' What if this doesn't work? What changes might be needed in the tax code in the days ahead to be able to adjust in what scenario? So if the revenues aren't coming in, should the rates change? All of those are in conversation."

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee

Corker has concerns with the tax bill as it's written because he also fears it could fail to generate enough growth to pay for itself. In case that happens, he hopes to include a measure that would trigger a way to offset the costs.

Like Johnson, Corker sits on the Budget Committee. When asked if he would vote against the bill in the committee, he said it was "very possible."

He is emphatic, however, that he is "not threatening anything" at this point and is working in good faith to find a solution with leadership on the backstop idea. He said leadership has been receptive, but the committee can't afford to lose votes and Johnson has already threatened to vote "no" in committee.

A Corker spokesman said Monday, "Senator Corker spent the entire Thanksgiving break on the phone with his Senate colleagues and with the administration working on a responsible path forward. While more work remains, all parties are hopeful that the final bill will be good for our country."

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine

One GOP aide working this issue said the Maine Republican may not be as dug-in against the bill as some of her statements have suggested.

Another source strongly suggested the same, indicating Collins has not drawn any red lines against it and hasn't decided what she will do.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona

"I would like to vote for the bill," Flake told reporters on Monday. "I'm trying to get there."

Flake cited some of the changes that affect the middle class and sunset after a specific period as one of his issues.

"My concern has been some of the phase-outs, gimmicks that typically come into a bill like this, and addressing some of those," he said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

According to a spokeswoman's statement on November 22, "Senator Murkowski has not made a determination on tax reform. Senator Murkowski said on Friday that she will look at the work of the Finance Committee over the Thanksgiving Holiday and plans to look at the entire package before coming to any conclusion on the legislation."

One key factor that could keep Murkowski supporting the proposal: The tax plan, due to arcane Senate rules, will be combined with a bill that would open up Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in ANWR is an issue that's long been dear to Murkowski, in part because her father, Frank Murkowski, a former Republican senator and governor, also advocated for drilling but was unsuccessful.

Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas

Moran said during a town hall November 25 that he has concerns about adding the repeal of Obamacare's individual-coverage mandate to the bill and adding to the deficit. "We don't want to increase the debt and deficit as a result of tax cuts. My goal is to find out which taxes you cut can actually help create more jobs, better jobs, higher-paying jobs ... and which ones don't do that. Not all of them do that."

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida

Rubio told reporters on Monday that he hasn't decided how he'll vote, saying there's still "not enough" progress in making child tax credits refundable for payroll workers.

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.

This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.