As tax overhaul looms, Senate has upper hand

Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

"When that conference report comes back, both chambers equally have to be able to support it in a good strong way," House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady told Roll Call when asked if the Senate has the advantage because they have fewer votes to spare.

The Texas Republican said he's "not satisfied yet with the House or the Senate version" of the tax overhaul and he's expecting improvements to be made in conference.

"My goal is, pick the best of both, and in some ways do better than both," he said. "I think we've learned from the process what's important, what's really hitting the targets we want from a pro-growth and a simplification standpoint and what not yet has done that."

Bad blood House Republicans have no shortage of complaints about the Senate. And while they personally like many of their colleagues across the Rotunda there's clearly some bad blood resulting from institutional power dynamics.

"We do our work, we take the hard votes," Freedom Caucus member Dave Brat said, expressing his frustration that the Senate has the upper hand in the tax negotiations, as they have had in other legislative matters.

The Virginia Republican's frustration is shared widely across the GOP conference and has also been expressed recently in regard to the Senate not passing any appropriations bills after the House passed a 12-bill omnibus in September.


House Republicans' grievances with the Senate reached a boiling point this year amid the Senate's failure to pass a health care overhaul.

"When you've got three or four senators that have the history of what they did with the health care bill, that's a problem," Texas GOP Rep. Randy Weber said.

On whether the Senate will exercise a heavy hand in the tax negotiations, the Freedom Caucus member said, "I don't know what they're predisposed toward."

Many other lawmakers also said they couldn't predict what will come out of conference when asked about the prospect that the Senate could effectively jam the House because of its fragile vote coalition.


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