Tax Bill vote postponed after setback

Staff members supplying pizzas for a late evening of voting. Negotiations over how to offset the cost of tax cuts led to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell postponing votes.
Staff members supplying pizzas for a late evening of voting. Negotiations over how to offset the cost of tax cuts led to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell postponing votes.PHOTO: AGENCE-FRANCE PRESSE

WASHINGTON • United States President Donald Trump had hoped his Republican Party would pass the controversial tax Bill as early as Thursday night, handing the White House and Republicans their most significant legislative achievement of his young presidency.

But after 11th hour negotiations over how to offset the cost of dramatic tax cuts for corporations and more modest cuts for individuals, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell postponed votes until yesterday mid-day.

A tense stand-off on the Senate floor threw the Bill's fate into question, after a new projection showed the measure would add US$1 trillion (S$1.35 trillion) to the federal deficit. The analysis complicated Mr Trump's argument, shared by many Republicans, that the tax cuts would pay for themselves through additional economic growth - and left some senators mulling over adding future tax hikes into the plan to ensure sufficient revenue.

In a dramatic move, three Republican senators refused to vote on a procedural measure until they were assured that more changes could be made to the legislation. Republicans hold a narrow 52-48 Senate majority. Three defectors would kill the Bill and a handful were showing reservations about a measure that experts said would benefit corporations and the wealthy.

Republican senator John McCain, who has repeatedly defied his party, said on Thursday he would back the tax plan.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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