This story may go unnoticed, but it's possible the GOP's future "tax reform" plans may have died today.
Echoing his demands for health care reform, Senator John McCain says he wants regular order for any changes to the tax code.
"We need to do it in a bipartisan fashion," McCain said Tuesday of a tax bill, arguing that major congressional reforms that have stood the rest of time since the 20th century have included buy-in from both parties. "I am committed, as I’ve said before, to a bipartisan approach, such as we’ve been doing in the Armed Services Committee for the last 53 years," McCain told reporters in the Capitol.
The thing is, they're already out of (regular) order.
The GOP's entire plan for cutting taxes for the rich revolves around jamming through a bill with just 50 votes in the Senate using the reconciliation process. Republican leaders have intentionally and explicitly cut Democrats out of the process of negotiating a tax cut bill in private. Republicans have only been negotiating among themselves just as they've done with health care.
If John McCain is sincere, their 50 vote threshold for reconciliation is already in jeopardy because we know they have no plans to include Democrats in the process. We know they won't allow amendments and they may not even hold many (if any) hearings.
The problem with ramming through legislation with such a razor thin margin of votes is that any single change can jeopardize the entire stack of Jenga blocks, hence their refusal to open up the process for hearings and amendments.