Sen. Schumer shouldn’t quit his day job if he’s thinking about becoming a political prognosticator. Sen. Schumer made a purely partisan statement when he said “There is a path forward, but only after this tax bill fails. The hard right, which cares so much about just reducing taxes, has a stranglehold on the Republican Party right now. And I don’t think they’ll give it up unless this bill fails.”
Let’s be blunt. This tax bill won’t fly through the House and Senate without any difficulty. That said, it will pass, most likely before Christmas. Sen. Schumer’s prediction, which you’ll notice he started immediately backing away from, was that the bill would fail. That isn’t what a confident man does. That’s something that a person says after they realize they’ve made a mistake.
President Trump shot back, saying “I like Schumer, but before he even knows the plan, he’ll say, ‘Oh, this is for the rich,’ so he doesn’t even know what the plan is, and he’s screaming it’s for the rich.’ He added that he didn’t think he’d ultimately need Schumer’s help on anything. ‘I don’t think it matters; I mean, I really don’t.'”
There’s likely to be a flurry of activity from lobbyists as the bill starts taking shape. That’s predictable because they’re paid to get special carve-outs for their employers. That’s the nature of the beast. That being said, these Republicans know that passing tax simplification will help them fly to victory next November and help ensure President Trump’s re-election victory in 2020.
My friend Ed Morrissey thinks that there’s cause for concern:
Since then, President Trump has lashed out at retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Twitter, prompting Corker to brand Trump an “utterly untruthful president,” and to declare that “the debasement of our nation is what [Trump] will be remembered most for.” Just a few hours later on Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) announced that he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2018, and issued a withering critique of Trump from the Senate floor: “It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end … Mr. President, I rise today to say ‘enough.'”
It is difficult to see how tax reform manages 51 votes in the Senate if Corker and Flake both abandon Trump. It is equally difficult to imagine America’s 45th president handling these criticisms from his GOP colleagues with equanimity and grace. The more likely case is that the GOP will plunge into even fiercer internecine fights that submarine the party’s legislative agenda, such as it is.
Actually, President Trump took questions from reporters on his way to Texas tonight. When asked about Corker and Flake, President Trump was nice, saying that, though they had their disagreements, he felt confident that they’d both vote for the tax bill. Appearing on Fox News later in the day, Louie Gohmert said the same thing. Like I said earlier, it’s inevitable that there will be ups and downs. The squabbling described here felt nothing like the total disarray that was apparent during the Obamacare fiasco.