Peter T King

Opinion: The GOP Tax Bill — All Hat and No Rabbit
Even passing no legislation might be a better option

From left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Majority Whip Steve Scalise celebrate during a news conference after the chamber passed the GOP tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All politics is state and local.

That update of Tip O’Neill’s dictum is inspired by the Republican tax bill. The legislation that passed the House on Thursday eviscerates the deduction for state and local taxes and the current Senate version, which just emerged from the Finance Committee, eliminates the write-off entirely.

Photos of the Week: Taxes Dominate, Bible Museum Opens and Trump Visits
The week of Nov. 13 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Virginia Rep. Scott Taylor sits on the House steps to shoot a selfie video about his vote on the tax overhaul Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Taxes once again dominated action on the Hill, with the Senate Finance Committee marking up its plan while the House passed its version of a tax overhaul by a 227-205 vote Thursday. 

Meet the Republicans Who Voted ‘No’ on the Tax Bill
13 GOP members, most from high-tax states, voted against leadership

California Rep. Darrell Issa, who voted “no” on the House GOP tax bill, finds himself in a Toss-up re-election race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders cheered passage of their sweeping tax overhaul Thursday, but 13 GOP lawmakers bucked their party and voted against the bill. 

All but one of them hailed from New York, New Jersey and California — each a high-tax state. These lawmakers largely opposed the legislation because it curtailed the state and local tax deduction, also known as SALT. The measure caps the deduction for property taxes at $10,000 while eliminating the tax break for state and local income or sales taxes. 

House Approves GOP Tax Overhaul
Thirteen Republicans votes against their leadership’s measure

New York GOP Reps. John J. Faso, Dan Donovan, Lee Zeldin and Peter T. King explain their opposition to the GOP tax overhaul bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Step one complete.

House Republicans on Thursday passed their tax overhaul bill, 227-205, which will now go to the Senate and be used as a vehicle to pass its own measure. Thirteen Republicans voted against the measure; no Democrats voted for the measure. 

Vulnerable Republicans in Political Catch-22 on Tax Overhaul
Democrats will attack them for the GOP tax plan even if they vote against it

New York Rep. Dan Donovan said the tax plan “kills the people who I represent.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s decision time on the ultimatum Republican leaders have been issuing to members all fall: Pass a tax overhaul or wave the House majority goodbye. 

But some of the party’s most vulnerable members, many from high-tax states in the Northeast, have come out against the House tax plan over its curtailing of deductions for state and local taxes and mortgage interest. Others are still undecided, afraid of how the measure will affect their districts. 

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.

DCCC Adds 11 GOP Targets, including Paul Ryan
Democrats are now targeting 91 Republican districts in 2018

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added 11 more Republicans to its 2018 target list, including Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

The DCCC now has its sights on 91 GOP seats next year. Twenty-three are districts that Democrat Hillary Clinton carried last year, while 68 voted for President Donald Trump. The new targets were first reported by The Washington Post.

While Trump’s Away, Congress Legislates?
President’s absence eases tax bill work, some Republicans say

Some Republican members say progress on a tax bill is more likely with President Donald Trump, here with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, away in Asia. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump spent the first four days of his Asia swing focused on countering North Korea and bolstering trade relationships — and some Republican members who are eager to pass a tax bill are just fine with that.

The way they see it, Trump being nearly 7,000 miles away for most of the next two weeks will allow them to make more progress on their tax legislation than if he were in Washington. That’s because Trump is often hunkered down in the White House watching cable news reports about their efforts, his phone at the ready to fire off a tweet that could substantially delay or completely derail their work.

Rushed Tax-Writing Process Draws Few Complaints — For Now
House GOP still expects to pass tax measure by Thanksgiving

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP leaders want to pass a tax bill by Thanksgiving, a compressed time frame for major legislation that has not been introduced yet. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

While rank-and-file House Republicans know little about the sprawling bill tax writers have been drafting behind closed doors — a measure they could be asked to vote on in just two weeks — few are ready to complain publicly about the rushed process.

As GOP leaders hit pause, pushing the legislation’s unveiling back a day to Thursday, several members interviewed Wednesday said they understood why tax writers were keeping provisions of the long-awaited bill secret. And while they were eager to see the text, they said if they got it this week, they could likely analyze it in time for a floor vote before Thanksgiving.