Following a White House lunch meeting, the Senate tax bill was advanced through committee by a 12-11 party line vote. The committee included two Republican senators, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Bob Corker of Tennessee, who had threatened to oppose the tax bill.
Passage through committee does not indicate that either senator supports the bill in its current form. It is possible that they simply want it to advance to wider debate on the Senate floor. Johnson says that he’s not yet a “yes” but wants to be.
Meanwhile, Corker, who has been attacked by the President for his skepticism of the bill, was still signaling caution last night, advocating for a backstop measure,
“In the event revenues are not there, there’s a way to recoup them so that you’re in a situation where you’re not creating deficits, should the projections that have been laid out not be real.”
It is possible that Corker wants the bill to move into debate so that such a measure can be introduced.
Susan Collins of Maine, as noted by Rich Lowry earlier, is now leaning towards supporting the bill.
Several holdouts remain, most of them fiscal conservatives whose concerns would not be met by amendments that lead to greater deficits.