McCain Wants Regular Order for “Tax Reform”

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

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.

  • Draxiar

    I want to know if the Republicans will suddenly go into a fit and scream about unfairness once the Democrats gain control in the Senate and start passing legislation with majority votes.

    • Of course they will. No question.

      • Christopher Foxx

        It’s inevitable that the Democrats will get control of the Senate. The pendulum swings and eventually the party in power is out.

        And when that happens the Republicans will pound their widdle fists and whine about how totally unfair it is whenever the Democrats do anything that even hints at not giving the Republicans an equal seat at the table.

        And when the power shifts again and Republicans are once again in control they will see absolutely nothing wrong in shutting the Democrats out.

  • muselet

    “Senator McCain has his reasons for saying that. He’s entitled to them. All I can tell you is that this economy is not going to get better until we do tax reform,” Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said in an interview.

    Tax cuts—which do not constitute tax reform (as Kevin Drum helpfully reminds us), but are all the Rs are actually proposing—do not, as a rule, positively affect the economy, no matter how many magic asterisks are applied. Senator Kennedy has made the worst mistake a conman can make: he believes his own patter (so does Paul Ryan, but he’s a special case since he also believes his own press releases).

    I’ve never had much use for John McCain, as everyone here is well aware, but maybe he’ll do the right thing for the country and stand up to the inevitable pressure from the R leadership and the inevitable brickbats from Righty media.


  • Not to look a horse in the mouth (or to be too cynical) BUT I think this whole ‘Regular Order or Get off my lawn!’ stuff that McCain has been pulling is his final attempt to “do the right thing” before he passes. His battle against the cancer is not going well. I’m pretty certain that Arizonans, who are as lazy as they are ignorant, will probably elect Kelli Ward, the Tea Party Ninny, who couldn’t mount a decent primary campaign against McCain last year. She’s got a few screws loose so we can’t expect her to save Obamacare going forward. Can we get time to move faster so the 2018 midterms get here sooner rather than later?

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    • A lot people have pointed out to me that McCain is religiously devoted to the rules of Senate. So he definitely thinks he’s doing the right thing, but it may not be a “die on the right foot thing.”