Senate Republicans must grapple with another defection now that Ron Johnson, a senator from Wisconsin, became the first senator in his party to declare that he could not vote for the GOP’s tax reform plan, arguing that the bill is imbalanced in favor of large corporations.
“Unfortunately, neither the House nor Senate bill provide fair treatment, so I do not support either in their current versions,” he said. “I do, however, look forward to working with my colleagues to address the disparity so I can support the final version.”
Johnson also told The Wall Street Journal that he cannot vote on the bill as it’s currently written. “If they can pass it without me, let them,” Johnson told WSJ reporters. “I’m not going to vote for this tax package.”
— New Day (@NewDay) November 16, 2017
He also detailed the changes he would make, which are provided below.
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) November 15, 2017
In a statement, Johnson stressed his support for small businesses, whose owners pay taxes on profits through the tax code for individuals. These businesses truly are the engines of innovation and job creation throughout our economy, and they should not be left behind,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, neither the House nor Senate bill provide fair treatment, so I do not support either in their current versions.”
Johnson’s opposition places Republican leaders in a bind: Although many Senate Republicans have expressed their enthusiasm for a major legislative achievement ever since the public failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act threatened to further divide the party, the party’s slim 52-to-48 majority in the Senate makes members especially vulnerable to the effects of defections, which could doom the measure altogether.
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