Friday, December 1, 2017

ACTION ALERT - GOP tax bill advances “Going ninety miles an hour down a dead end street.”

Lyrics are from the Hank Snow song courtesy of “Liza” commenting on this morning’s post by AZBlueMeanie.

“Warning signs are flashing ev’ry where, but we pay no heed
‘Stead of slowing down the place, we keep a pickin’ up speed
Disaster’s getting closer ev’ry time we meet
Going ninety miles an hour down a dead end street”

If you already have all your talking points and know the course of events in the senate this week, skip to the end of this post for phone numbers for Senators Flake and McCain - and then call and give them an earful.

Following are quoted parts from that post and comments on The final countdown on the Senate GOP tax bill has begun: call your senators now by the AZ Blue Meanie at Blog for Arizona.

First, here is the likely course of events that might/could/should take the senate through the rest of the week (from Dylan Scott at vox.com).

… Over the next two days, the fate of the nation’s tax code will be adjudicated on the Senate floor.

The centerpiece of the Republican tax plan is a huge corporate tax cut, at a time when most Americans think businesses should be taxed more, not less. It also slashes taxes on “pass-through” businesses disproportionately used by rich people (like President Trump) to lower their tax burden. The top tax rate for the richest Americans would also be cut, and the estate tax for wealthy inheritances would be rolled back.

More changes could be made on the Senate floor, where a process colloquially called “vote-a-rama” could force some tough votes for lawmakers on both sides and, maybe, change the substance of the final plan that the Senate passes. How this all shakes out could determine whether — and, more importantly, how — Republicans overhaul the nation’s tax code for the next generation.

The path forward is complex. Here’s what happens next.

(1) McConnell technically made a motion to start debate on the House tax bill. That step — known as the motion to proceed — required 51 votes.

Even some skeptics of the tax bill like Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) voted in favor of opening the debate. It would have been a shock if the Senate failed to even start debate on the bill.

(2) The Senate would debate the House legislation on the floor for 20 hours, with that time divided evenly between Republicans and Democrats. That’s 20 hours of debate time, not real time, so the debate could last a couple of days.

(3) At the end of the debate, there would be a vote-a-rama, during which senators can offer an unlimited number of amendments to the bill. Amendments that are considered “germane” to the tax legislation need 51 votes to be added to the bill.

(4) At some point, either before or after the vote-a-rama, McConnell would offer the Senate bill as a substitute for the House bill. The timing would depend on whether McConnell wants the amendments brought up during vote-a-rama to be added to the final bill. This will be a key decision: If McConnell waits until the end to introduce his substitute, then none of the amendments that were added during vote-a-rama will actually be part of the final legislation.

The “when” of the substitution is crucial: If, purely hypothetically, a proposal by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) is approved and added to the House bill but the Senate bill is substituted later, that policy change would not actually be in the bill that comes up for final passage.

(5) The Senate would take a final vote on passage of the amended Senate bill. That would require 51 votes. Just because the tax bill got a majority to start debate doesn’t mean it will get the votes to pass. The health care debate was started, but then every bill that Republicans put forward failed to get 51 votes. Several Republicans — Corker, Flake, John McCain, Susan Collins — are thought to be on the fence.

Vice President Mike Pence could break a 50–50 tie.

(6) If the Senate passes the bill, the House could either take it up and pass it as is or the two chambers could enter into conference negotiations to produce a new plan.

Both the Senate and House would need to pass the conference bill, which requires 50 votes again in the Senate and a bare majority, 218 members, in the House.

(7) Once both chambers have passed the same tax bill, President Trump would sign it into law.

It’s not too late to call and write AZ Senators McCain and Flake. Here are the contacts relayed from commenter “Liza.”

Flake

Washington, D.C. Office
Senate Russell Office Building 413
Washington, D.C. 20510
P: 202–224–4521
F: 202–228–0515

Tucson Office
6840 North Oracle Road
Suite 150
Tucson, AZ 85704
P: 520–575–8633
F: 520–797–3232

McCain

Tucson Office
407 West Congress Street
Suite 103
Tucson, AZ 85701
Main: (520) 670–6334
Fax: (855) 952–8702

Washington Office
218 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202) 224–2235
Fax: (202) 228–2862

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