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VP Pence delays next week’s Middle East trip to lock down the tax bill


By —— Bio and Archives--December 14, 2017

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VP Pence delays next week's Middle East trip to lock down the tax bill
Most conservatives have lined up behind tax reform, even if we’re not necessarily getting everything we’d like. The prevailing wisdom is that some is better than none. So, while we’d like a flat or fair tax, we’d love a 0% corporate tax rate, and we’d really love to see someone make the case for the repeal of the 16th Amendment, we’ll take what we can get.

Still, we’re a nervous bunch.  The GOP has let us down - often - over the course of the last year, and a lot of us wonder if they’re going to blow it again. If you’re a political tea leaf reader you’ve been looking for signs that indicate the Republicans have finally, mercifully, gotten their act together.

Well, this might be just such a thing.

Vice President Mike Pence was going to leave Sunday for a week-long spin through the Middle East.  That plan has changed. He’s now going to depart Tuesday afternoon.

The reason?

According to CNN, they want him in D.C. to cast a potentially tie-breaking vote on the tax reform bill:

The delay comes as Congress prepares to vote on a sweeping tax reform bill, and amid an ongoing outcry over President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy to the holy city.

Pence’s vote could be crucial to Republican hopes of passing a major tax reform bill before the end of the year. With Republicans holding a slim 52-48 majority in the Senate—and some key Republican senators still uncommitted—Pence holds the tiebreaking vote in the event of an even split. Delaying the Jerusalem visit and keeping the vice president in Washington allows Pence to cast that vote if tax reform moves forward next week.

Pence’s office confirmed he will now leave Washington on Tuesday, stopping in Egypt for a brief visit before arriving in Israel for a multi-day visit.

Here’s where the speculation comes into play.  Assuming CNN is right about the reason for his delay (and you should NEVER assume CNN is right about anything) it probably means that the GOP believes they’re going to a vote either on Monday or early Tuesday.  If they’re confident enough that the Vice President is willing to alter an important overseas schedule, that suggests things are going well behind the scenes.

Couple all of this with the recent news of progress in reconciliation, and you have reason to get your hopes up - at least a little.

Of course, the fact that Pence is sticking around also gives you an idea that they think the margin on this vote will be razor-thin ...so we’re not out of the woods yet.


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Robert Laurie -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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