A faulty title and other glitches slow down GOP tax bill

Author: Associated Press
Published: Updated:
Paul Ryan (Photo via Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Great titles can sell books. Bad ones can slow down tax bills in Congress – though just a bit.

The Republican $1.5 trillion tax bill will apparently take a few extra hours and a second House vote for lawmakers to send it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

That’s because the Senate parliamentarian has decided three minor provisions violate the chamber’s rules.

Democrats say one problem is the bill’s title: “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” They say those words violate a rule barring provisions that have no impact on the budget or that aren’t necessary for other sections that have a budget impact.

A second violation involves language that would let families use tax-advantaged 529 college savings accounts for the costs of home-schooling children.

The third involves some conditions the bill uses to decide whether private universities will have to pay a new excise tax on their endowments.

The Senate is using the strict rules so Republicans can pass the tax bill without Democrats being able to use filibusters, or procedural delays, to kill it. The GOP has a 52-48 majority, short of the 60 votes they’d ordinarily need to halt a Democratic filibuster.

Democrats said they planned to strike all three offending items from the bill before the Senate approves the legislation, likely late Tuesday.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., notified House lawmakers that this meant their chamber would vote again on the tax bill – minus the deleted language – Wednesday morning before it can be sent to Trump.

The House passed the bill a first time Tuesday.

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