As tax overhaul looms, Senate has upper hand

Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

"This is new for a lot of the members, as far as we've actually got something come back from conference," Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker of North Carolina said. "We know what's important to us in the House. How much of that (we get) would be pure speculation on my part."

Rep. John Katko, co-chairman of the Tuesday Group, said he is hopeful the House will be able to secure its priorities in conference, noting, "There's a lot in the Senate bill that concerns me, especially for my constituents."

The New York Republican said the more the final bill resembles the House measure over the Senate version the better.

As to whether the House position can prevail given the fluidity among Senate Republicans, Katko said, "That's a very good question. I'm hopeful. If we want to get it done, it's going to have to happen."

While some rank-and-file Republicans are skeptical about the conference process, GOP tax writers were more confident.

"For the first time since I've been here, the House is better organized and in a stronger position to advance its objectives," said Ways and Means member Carlos Curbelo, currently in his second term.

Asked why he believes that, the Florida Republican said, "No. 1, I think our product is better for the most part, even though there are some elements of the Senate bill that I prefer. We've also built our coalition in a very competent manner with no drama. Senators know, for example, that we have firm commitments to our (state and local tax) colleagues, colleagues from higher-tax states. So I really feel momentum on the House side."


Rep. Jackie Walorski, another tax writer, said she is "completely optimistic" the House GOP will be able to secure its priorities, saying the motivation and focus has not wavered.

"There's nothing good-looking about the process," the Indiana Republican said. "But the process works."

(Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.)

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