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- Democrats want to pause the tax reform process until Alabama’s Senator-elect Doug Jones is seated.
- Top Republicans do not seem likely to alter the schedule as the year comes to an end.
WASHINGTON – Democrats are rolling out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s old quotes about delaying major policy votes in an effort to stall the Republican tax reform plan until Doug Jones is seated as Alabama’s next senator.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanded on Wednesday that Republicans wait to pass their tax overhaul after Jones upset Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s special election Tuesday night. Schumer cited McConnell’s demands in 2010 that the Affordable Care Act be put on hold in the wake of Republican Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts.
“Doug Jones will be the duly elected from the state of Alabama,” Schumer said. “The governor didn’t appoint him – he won an election. It would be wrong for Senate Republicans to jam through this tax bill without giving the newly elected senator from Alabama the opportunity to cast his vote.”
Schumer noted then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to postpone the vote, directly quoting McConnell that “the majority has gotten the message and no more gamesmanship here and no more lack of transparency.”
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander and what’s good for the gander is good for the goose,” Schumer added. “McConnell ought to do what he said ought to be done in 2010 and what we did in 2010: Delay until Doug Jones gets here and can cast a vote, plain and simple.”
But McConnell’s office shrugged off such comparisons to the 2010 situation with Brown, now the Trump administration’s ambassador to New Zealand.
McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said Democrats “only delayed the re-do vote on Obamacare because they no longer had 60 votes.
“Once [Scott Brown] was elected (in an election clearly focused on Obamacare), they disregarded that result and switched to the reconciliation process – which took months,” he added. “They didn’t delay the vote as a concession – they delayed because they had no choice.”
And top Republicans are unlikely to halt any progress on the tax bill, which could even see an increase in speed as the year comes to an end.
“This thing has been on this track for a long time,” said Sen. John Thune, who chairs the Republican conference. “I mean the intention all along was to have the vote before Christmas and I think we’re on schedule to make that happen. So I don’t think that election changes in anyway the schedule or probability of the outcome of the tax debate.”