Mark Meadows

10 Things to Watch as the Tax Bill Moves Forward
House passage just the first step

President Donald Trump arrives for a meeting with the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on Thursday to discuss the GOP’s tax bill. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, far left, and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving, foreground, also appear. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passage of a tax code rewrite Thursday was just the first in a multistep process. Many changes are expected before a bill reaches President Donald Trump’s desk.

First, the Senate has to prove it can pass a tax overhaul after failing to do so on health care.

Hot Start With Trump 'Pep Rally' Burns Out as Tax Bill Cruises
Before passing tax bill, GOP members gush about president

President Donald Trump, accompanied by his chief of staff John Kelly, arrives at the Capitol to speak to House Republicans before a floor vote on a GOP-crafted tax overhaul bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two fireplaces outside the House chamber told the story Thursday a few minutes before members streamed in to vote on a sweeping tax bill. Orange embers were still just visible in both beneath scorched logs and ash. For Republicans, what had started with a white-hot visit by President Donald Trump ended with the anti-climactic passage of their tax plan.

But there was nothing anti-climactic a short time earlier in the basement of the Capitol, where House GOP members gather weekly as a group. They scurried in — mostly on time, with a few notable exceptions — for the presidential visit, and many emerged just before noon strikingly giddy about the scene during the president’s roughly 20 minutes of remarks.

The GOP’s ‘Vote and Hope’ Caucus
Several House Republicans to vote ‘yes’ in hope of later changes

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, holding up a theoretical postcard tax form, and his leadership team appear to have the votes to pass their tax legislation. But several members say they hope substantial changes to the bill come later. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Many House Republicans planning to vote “yes” on their tax bill Thursday are doing so with the understanding the measure is far from perfect and hoping their concerns will be addressed later during House and Senate conference negotiations.

Sound familiar? It was the same strategy several members employed in voting for a bill in May to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Predicts Tax Bill Will Pass
But Rep. Mark Meadows says members expect more changes in conference

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows says caucus members still have more changes they’d like to see in the final GOP tax overhaul. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows on Monday predicted the Republican tax bill will pass the House this week, saying several members of his caucus appear willing to support the bill to keep the process moving.

“I think most of our members are a ‘Lean yes,’ some are undecided,” the North Carolina Republican said. “But all of that is with the caveat that there is still much work that needs to be done before there’s support for a final bill. So if this bill were to come up for a final vote on the floor, there wouldn’t be as many yeses as there are right now.”

Ready or Not, House Republicans Set Vote on Tax Overhaul
But floor delay remains a possibility as GOP leaders wrangle votes

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said the health care debate taught him not to set an “artificial deadline” for passing legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The scenario is all too familiar: House Republican leaders schedule a floor vote on a major legislative priority and exude confidence the bill will pass despite a chorus of rank-and-file concern. 

GOP leaders insist the tax overhaul they plan to vote on this week is different from the health care bill they had to pull from the floor this spring. But the reality is they are still wrangling the 218 votes needed to pass their tax measure. A possible repeat scenario of the health care debacle looms.

House Republicans Raise Red Flags Over Senate Tax Bill
Differences on estate tax, state and local tax deduction could cause issues

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., has concerns about the Senate not repealing the estate tax and worries the House have to vote on the Senate version of the tax overhaul bill. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The tax overhaul bill the Senate released Thursday could create problems in negotiations with the House, given its divergence on key areas like the estate tax and the state and local tax deduction.

House conservatives are already firing warning shots that some aspects of the Senate bill are unacceptable, like a one-year delay in the corporate tax rate cut and preservation of the estate tax.

McConnell: Moore Must Step Aside If Allegations True
Ala. candidate initiated sexual encounter with girl, reports say

Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore is questioned by the media in the Capitol on Oct. 31. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:17 p.m. | Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is accused of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32, according to The Washington Post.

“If these allegations are true, he must step aside,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday.

Small-Business Concerns Threaten GOP Tax Overhaul
Many Republicans worry small-business owners won’t see benefits

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and his committee might consider changes to the GOP tax bill’s small-business provisions to address members’ concerns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Concerns from rank-and-file Republicans about small-business provisions in the House GOP tax bill are emerging as the biggest threats to the legislation’s passage in the chamber.

The specific concerns vary from the types of small businesses that will benefit from a reduced 25 percent tax rate to the amount of so-called pass-through income that will still be taxed at individual rates.

GOP Tax Bill: The Fine-Tuning and Defense Begins
House Republicans hope to vote on measure by Thanksgiving

From left, House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan and South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem at a news conference in the Longworth Building on Thursday to unveil the House GOP tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Republican tax bill will undergo lots of tweaking, but the generally positive response so far indicates that leadership’s plan to vote on the overhaul by Thanksgiving is still within reach.

The stakes are high for Republicans as they search for a major legislative achievement ahead of the 2018 elections. Members agree a win is needed under President Donald Trump’s leadership after the effort to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law collapsed in the Senate.

Congress Begins Digesting Tax Bill Outlines
Republicans say they need more detail

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and the GOP leadership team briefed members about their tax legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans leaving a closed-door conference meeting said they needed to see more details of the tax code overhaul before assessing the plan.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said “not enough detail” was provided. “Most of what was talked about in there was still at the 15,000-to-20,000 foot level.”