Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is proposing a no-tax-hikes deal as an alternative solution to deficit hawk Republican senators who are threatening to upend the party’s push to overhaul the U.S. tax code.
“We’ve got to 50 [votes], and we’re working hard to get to 50 [votes],” Cruz told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Thursday evening. “One of the big issues we’re debating right now is what’s called a trigger. There are a couple of senators who are concerned that growth won’t hit the projections. And they’re proposing a trigger that if growth doesn’t hit the projections, the corporate tax rate automatically rises. I think that is a very bad idea.”
Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona, along with a number of other GOP senators, are worried that the Senate’s tax bill will increase the federal deficit, an outcome they say could cause them to vote against their colleagues’ proposal. The senators are proposing to include a measure in the bill, known as a “trigger,” that would automatically raise taxes if the federal deficit started to increase.
“I think number one, automatic tax increases without a fresh vote from Congress is a mistake. It’s a bad precedent. Number two, if you’re headed into a recession, the worst thing to do is raise taxes,” Cruz said.
“What I proposed in response [that’s getting traction among the conference] is two pieces. Change the trigger. Instead of being an automatic tax increase, if the growth projections aren’t met, have an automatic reduction in federal government spending,” Cruz said.
The Texas senator said he is conjuring up a way to include a “reverse trigger” that would automatically lower taxes if economic growth exceeded the projections under the tax bill.
“And here’s the second piece that’s even more consequential. I’m calling it a reverse trigger. What I’ve been arguing is if you want a trigger on one side if we don’t get growth, let’s get a trigger on the other side, if growth exceeds projections. If we get even more economic growth, and the projections are really pretty poultry – then the additional federal revenue that comes in from growth, fifty percent of that should go to paying down our debt, and fifty percent should go to across the board pro-rata reductions in individual tax rates,” Cruz stated.
Senators are expected to vote on the tax bill, which is currently undergoing a number of changes to get wayward Republicans on board, on Friday.
Two key holdouts–Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana–said Friday morning that they would vote for the bill, putting Republicans one step closer to the 50-vote threshold needed to pass the bill under the Senate’s budget reconciliation rules.
WATCH: TRUMP TAKES A SWIPE AT HILLARY DURING TAX RALLY IN MISSOURI
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