The U.S. House of Representatives must hold another vote on the Republican tax bill because several provisions included in the final version do not comply with Senate budget rules.
The Senate is using a procedural measure called reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority of votes to pass a bill. The use of reconciliation requires the senate to follow the Byrd rule, which states that bills cannot increase the deficit during a 10-year budget window. Democratic aides previously told reporters that Byrd compliance would be a major priority for the party's senators, who do not have enough members in the chamber to defeat the bill on their own. The House approved the conference committee version Dec. 19 by a vote of 227 to 203.
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in a joint statement: "[I]t is our intention to raise a point of order to remove these provisions from the conference report and require the House to vote on this bill again." The new House vote would occur after the Senate acts, which is expected late on Dec. 19 or early on Dec. 20.
The problematic provisions include one allowing the use of 529 savings accounts for home schooling expenses and one describing how to determine whether private university endowments are subject to a new excise tax.