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House Votes To Conference Tax Reform Legislation

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan speaks at news conference announcing the passage of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. BernsteinSpeaker of the House Paul Ryan speaks at news conference announcing the passage of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

The House passed a motion permitting the House and Senate to begin formal tax negotiations Monday, bringing Republicans one step closer to achieving their goal of overhauling the tax code before the end of 2017.

While it was projected to overwhelmingly pass along party lines, Republican leadership faced a more dramatic vote than they initially anticipated. A number of House Freedom Caucus members attempted to use their votes as leverage to force leadership to push back the deadline on an upcoming, must-pass continuing resolution. After receiving assurances their proposal to push the CR deadline from Dec. 22 to Dec. 30 was being taken into consideration, the lawmakers opted to change their votes to a yes.

Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, Subcommittee on Tax Policy Chairman Peter Roskam, Budget Chairman Diane Black, Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, Reps. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Rob Bishop of Utah, Don Young of Alaska and John Shimkus of Illinois — who were appointed as the conferees by GOP leadership — will now be tasked with working out a bill with their Senate colleagues that can pass both chambers.

The upper chamber passed its tax bill early Saturday morning after GOP senators scrambled to rewrite its bill to comply with Senate rules just hours ahead of the vote. The House passed its measure in mid-November.

The House and Senate bills have a number of discrepancies — including the number of brackets, the timeline on when the corporate tax cut would go into effect and how pass-through businesses are taxed — but Republican lawmakers are looking to bridge in the conference report.

GOP leadership appointed Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, Subcommittee on Tax Policy Chairman Peter Roskam, Budget Chairman Diane Black, Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, Reps. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Rob Bishop of Utah, Don Young of Alaska and John Shimkus of Illinois to as the House’s conferees.

Republicans’ ambitious timeline on tax reform could prove to be a challenge for top lawmakers looking to close the year with a win as Congress is faced with a pressing timeline to pass a spending measure to keep the government open by Dec. 8. Leadership is advocating for the continuing resolution that would last through Dec. 22 to provide more time for spending negotiations.

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