The House is expected to vote first on the GOP tax bill Tuesday
Meanwhile, Congress' Russia investigations continue making progress
As far as Capitol Hill is concerned, the only thing certain about next week is taxes.
With the tax bill complete and two key Senate Republicans promising a “yes” vote Friday, Republicans are rolling at full speed to pass the bill through Congress and land it on President Donald Trump’s desk before the end of the week.
Both chambers had planned to go into holiday recess at the end of last week, but delayed it a week to push through the tax reform vote and get home before Christmas. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced to members via conference call Friday evening that the House will vote Tuesday to avoid any potential roadblocks the Senate could impose if they voted first.
Senate GOP leaders seem to have the votes to pass the bill, with both Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, and Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, committing to voting “yes” on Friday.
Rubio flipped from a “no” to a “yes” vote after the refundable portion of the child tax credit was increased in the bill, as per his explicitly expressed demands last week. Corker, who was concerned about the impact the bill could have on the federal deficit, committed to voting in favor of the plan Friday after being the lone Republican no vote on the initial Senate bill.
In a statement released on the joint House-Senate version of the bill, Corker said, “After great thought and consideration, I believe that this once-in-a-generation opportunity to make US businesses domestically more productive and internationally more competitive is one we should not miss.”
Health issues kept both Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi out of the Senate last week, and while Cochran’s office says to expect him back for the vote, McCain is returning to Arizona and will not be back in Washington to vote next week. His absence is not expected to prevent the bill from passing.
And before lawmakers leave for the holidays, Congress has to pass a funding bill this week to keep the government from shutting down.
The latest in Russia investigations
The congressional Russia probes are continuing a steady march of witnesses to the end of the year, including both Trump associates and FBI and Justice Department officials who are being scrutinized by Republicans.
On Monday, the House Intelligence Committee is scheduled to interview three witnesses: British music publicist Rob Goldstone, who organized the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting; Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Democrat who was head of the Democratic National Committee; and Michael Sussman of Perk