The Republican Party's mad dash to "bring joy and cash to the Kochs" and their billionaire compatriots hit a wall late Thursday as GOP senators spent the night they intended to vote on their $1.5 trillion tax cut desperately scrambling to find ways to reduce their bill's incredible deficit impact by inserting a "trigger" that would either hike taxes or slash spending.
Ultimately, the chaos forced the GOP to delay its planned vote; another round of debate and a final vote is expected on Friday.
"The Senate is literally still writing this bill as they prepare for a vote on it."
—Ali Rogin, ABC News
An analysis by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) unveiled just hours before Senators took to the floor found that the GOP plan would blow a $1 trillion hole in the deficit—and, contrary to Republican promises, the study found that this cost would not be offset by economic growth.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others have warned that the GOP may ultimately look to use the ballooning deficit as a justification to impose draconian cuts on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
The JCT's findings appeared to intensify concerns of the so-called "deficit hawks"—principally Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)—sparking unanticipated chaos on the Senate floor that eventually devolved into what tax analyst Chad Bolt described as a "complete shit show."
What is happening right now in the Senate is a complete shit show. No hearings. Ideas tossed around on the fly. Policy designed to pass the Byrd rule, not because it makes any sense. @SenJohnMcCain how's regular order going for you?— Chad Bolt (@chadderr) December 1, 2017
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"The Senate is literally still writing this bill as they prepare for a vote on it," reported Ali Rogin of ABC News, which in the eyes of critics further revealed the contortions the GOP is willing to perform in order to deliver massive tax breaks to wealthy Americans and massive corporations.
"Let's be clear: A vote for the Republican tax bill is a vote against the middle class, people with disabilities, working families, women, single parents, orphans, veterans, seniors, teachers, universities, students."
—Tax MarchDespite the confusion and total lack of a coherent piece of legislation, however, Senate Republicans are gearing up to try once more to ram a tax bill through Friday morning.
The GOP's departure from the Capitol building without a tax victory provided a spark to the coalition of activists and lawmakers participating in the "People's Filibuster," which carried on through Thursday night and into Friday morning.
Recognizing that if the GOP had the votes to pass their bill on Thursday they would have done so, activists continued to urge Americans to flood the phone lines and keep the heat on their representatives.
"Let's be clear: A vote for the Republican tax bill is a vote against the middle class, people with disabilities, working families, women, single parents, orphans, veterans, seniors, teachers, universities, students....Anyone who's not a millionaire or billionaire," Tax March, one of the groups that organized the the demonstration outside the Capitol building, declared on Twitter.
Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org, called the GOP's delayed vote a "one-day stay of execution" and urged the tax bill's opponents to "keep up the pressure."
"Every day they don’t win, the more likely they become to lose," Wikler concluded.