Opinion: Tax reform moving faster than expected through the Senate

President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform at the St. Charles Convention Center, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, in St. Charles, Mo. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Tax reform now moves to the Senate floor, where the real challenge lies.

Since the plan is to pass the bill under reconciliation rules, 51 votes are needed to pass. With a slim 52 seat-majority the GOP can only lose two Republicans votes. Vice President Pence would be the tie-breaking vote at 50/50.

A number of Republicans have expressed concerns but I don’t think they’re deal breakers on tax reform.

You have the deficit hawks: Senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake. Both are not running for reelection. Both are outspoken critics of the president. They want to see triggers which cancel the tax cuts if economic growth is not paying for them.

Senators Ron Johnson and Steve Daines want to see the tax bill provide more tax cuts for businesses, mostly small and medium corporations, known as “pass throughs” that don’t get the benefit of the corporate tax cut.

Senator Collins had been opposed to the repeal of the individual mandate as part of tax reform.

Senator McCain has been tight lipped about his reservations, but has made it clear they exist. He voted against the two Bush era tax cuts because he believed that they only benefited the wealthy.

Here’s the bottom line: the tax bill has moved faster than I expected and momentum is important. I believe that the concerns of the holdouts are being addressed and there’s now a realistic chance tax reform gets to the president’s desk by the end of the year.

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