Tax reform fight could continue, even if Senate votes 'yes' on legislation

If the Senate votes to pass its tax reform legislation this week -- an increasingly uncertain feat amid some party infighting -- it likely won’t bring an end to Republicans’ push to pass a major tax cut package by the end of the year.

Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, confirmed to FOX Business that if the Senate manages to approve its tax reform bill, the House would not vote on that legislation and would instead force a reconciliation between the two chambers and merge the different plans. The makeup of the conference committee will be decided by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) once the Senate finishes voting, Brady said

“We also in our discussions believe we can do even better on the tax reform front,” the Texas Republican told FOX Business’ Liz Claman Wednesday. “So we look forward to working out the differences in a conference committee with the Senate.”

That decision comes with its own complications: the Senate’s plan offers a somewhat watered-down version compared to the House’s. For instance, Senate dictates that slashing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% would not occur for one year, whereas the House puts that cut into effect immediately.

Most notably, the Senate entirely eliminated state and local tax deductions (SALT), a provision that’s widely popular among high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California. There are no Republican senators in those states. GOP representatives, however, sought to appease Republicans in those largely Democratic states by modifying SALT instead of entirely eliminating it, a possible hitching point for reconciliation.

There’s also concern that the Alabama special election, which is scheduled to take place on Dec. 12, could endanger any tax reform efforts. The Republican candidate, Roy Moore, is facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underage girls; if he loses the race to Democrat Doug Jones, it could endanger an already razor-thin Republican majority in the Senate. But, Brady said both the House and Senate are committed to working together to find the best overall plan.

“Every member in the Senate, Republican, seems to be engaged and contributing. I think those are all good signs, so I’m very excited about getting down and working out the final details on this tax reform plan,” he said .”It’s been too long for Americans, we’ve fallen too far behind.”