Republicans are determined to ram through their tax scheme before their slim Senate majority gets even slimmer.
A significant consequence of Democrat Doug Jones’s amazing victory in the Alabama election is that in January, Republicans will be down to just 51 votes in the Senate.
Which is why House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are determined to vote on their tax scam in December.
On Wednesday morning, Republicans in Congress frantically announced they have the outline of a deal to be passed by the House and Senate, and they're hoping to rush through a vote next week.
None of the details of this secret deal are yet known. Any of the horrifying provisions of the House and Senate bills, from taxing graduate students to ending the health insurance mandate to eliminating credits the middle class relies on, could have made it in.
If Republicans hold the vote next week, before Jones is sworn in, then the temporary Senate appointee, Luther Strange, will get to vote for it, despite the fact that nobody in Alabama elected him.
And Democrats are having none of it.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is demanding the vote be postponed until Alabama’s new senator is in the chamber to give his constituents a voice. Other Senate Democrats are following his lead, including Ron Wyden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Chris Van Hollen.
It should be noted that in 2010, Senate Republicans were adamant that the surprise Massachusetts election of Scott Brown meant Democrats should delay a vote on Obamacare — which they did. And that was over a bill that went though regular order and public hearings, and was not nearly as unpopular in polls.
Among the Republicans who took that view at the time were John McCain and Susan Collins, both of whom have been absolutely fine with how the tax scam has been rushed through so far. “I don’t think an election should drive the timetable,” Collins now says.
And while delaying a tax vote a few weeks is apparently so unreasonable, Senate Republicans were fine with delaying a Supreme Court nomination 293 days, until there was an entirely new president.
It is clear Republicans are still struggling to even wrap their heads around Alabama choosing a Democrat, let alone that that Democrat deserves a say in national legislation. RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Cory Gardner have said that Jones should switch parties because Alabama voted for Trump, weirdly forgetting that Alabama also just voted for Jones.
Republicans should wait until every last American is properly represented in the Senate before moving forward. They should not fear the will of Alabama, and the nation.