Senate GOP takes hard line on tax deal

Senate Republicans are threatening to block a bipartisan tax deal passed Wednesday night by the House — unless they get a chance to change the legislation.

Despite getting 357 votes in the lower chamber, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said the legislation will not be able to clear a filibuster without amendment votes that allow Senate Republicans some say on the deal. The agreement was primarily devised by House Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) and Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), leaving members of the Senate minority frustrated over aspects of the deal.

Thune said the expanded Child Tax Credit in the deal is the biggest issue for the GOP, citing “delinking the CTC from the work requirement, which gives a lot of our folks heartburn.”

“We need a process that allows for some amendments to try and tweak and fix some of the issues,” Thune said. “That could be on the floor and create a floor process that allows for some amendment votes. Or ideally [in the] Senate Finance Committee.”

If Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tries to pass the bill without an amendment process, Thune warned “he won’t get 60.”

Wyden entered Schumer’s office on Thursday afternoon to discuss next steps. He declined to say whether lawmakers would attach it to a spending bill or other legislation but wants to continue talking through how to finish the job with Senate Republicans.

“There are 357 reasons to feel good this morning,” Wyden said of the successful House vote. “What I do is continue to talk to Senate Republicans about how to proceed.”