Some Senators Are Surprised to Learn that Tax Cuts Won’t Pay for Themselves
Tax cutting. The Senate Republican tax bill suffered a setback late Thursday as lawmakers were forced to consider future tax increases to help pay for the legislation. The bill had gained momentum in the morning when it picked up a key swing vote. But it came to a halt as senators scrambled to find ways to raise several hundred billion dollars.
Problems arose after the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation weighed in with an analysis that the tax cuts at the heart of the bill will not pay for themselves with future economic growth.
Leading the new resistance to the tax scheme is Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is demanding that the bill not drive up the nation’s debt.
Lawmakers are now considering alternatives, including reinstating the alternative minimum tax on some corporations and wealthy individuals and raising the corporate rate above 20% after some number of years. A final vote on the bill is expected today after a series of amendments is considered.
Tillerson turmoil. The White House is readying a plan to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and install loyalists to Trump in two top national security positions. The emerging strategy to stabilize the floundering State Department could have CIA Director Mike Pompeo replacing Tillerson and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) being elevated to succeed Pompeo.
Russian Mideast score. Egypt has reached a preliminary agreement to allow Russian military jets to use its airspace and bases. Egyptian and American analysts called the preliminary deal the latest sign of the waning influence of the United States as Trump has diminished its military and diplomatic footprint in the region and the world. If finalized, the agreement would give Russia its deepest presence in Egypt since 1973 when Cairo expelled the military of the Soviet Union and instead became Washington’s closest Arab ally. The U.S. has provided Egypt more than $70 billion in aid in the four decades since.