After meeting with President Trump on Monday, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) expressed confidence that the Senate will approve a pending tax bill, which he said will save more than $2,000 annually for median income Ohio families.
Trump hosted Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee at the White House Monday.
“We had a good meeting today and I want to thank the president for supporting our effort to deliver on the promise to cut taxes for middle-class families and reform a broken tax code,” Portman said in a press release. “I am confident that the Senate will pass this bill and we will have a good bill on the president’s desk before Christmas.”
Trump and Senate Republicans scrambled Monday to make changes to a Republican tax bill in an effort to win over holdout GOP senators and pass a tax package by the end of the year.
In a morning tweet, the president said, “With just a few changes, some mathematical, the middle class and job producers can get even more in actual dollars and savings.”
Portman added, “Our tax code is long overdue for reform, and it’s critical we get this done to help middle-class families, to help create more jobs, and to increase wages for American workers. Under our plan, a median income Ohio family will save $2,375 annually on their tax bill that they can instead use for gas or groceries, a car payment, retirement, college savings, or a family vacation.”
Trump and Senate leaders are trying to balance competing demands, as some senators fear the package would add to the nation’s mounting debt, while others want more generous tax breaks for businesses. In a boost for the legislation, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said he would back the measure.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said the plan is to vote on the current tax bill this week, then work out the differences between the Senate bill and one passed by the House earlier this month.
“We think the Senate bill made some substantial improvements over the House bill but we’ll work through those when we get to a conference committee with the House,” Cornyn told reporters.
But as of Monday, GOP leaders were still trying to round up the votes in the Senate to pass the bill.
“We always have to deal with everybody. It’s not any one particular person,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Finance Committee. “These are tough times, these are tough issues, they’re hard to deal with and we’ve had to deal with them.”
Trump and Republicans have set as a vital political goal the passage of tax overhaul legislation by the end of the year. The House recently passed a $1.5 trillion bill. Senate GOP leaders hope to muscle their bill through this week.
Republicans have only two votes to spare in the Senate, where they hold a 52-48 edge.