[Editor’s note: The tax reform bill is on the Senate floor being debated on Thursday. Numerous amendments have been offered and are being voted upon.]
The magic number is 50.
There are 52 Republican senators in Washington. Fifty votes are needed for the tax reform package now being debated on the Senate floor. If those 50 votes materialize, Vice President Mike Pence will cast the deciding vote.
Alaska senators are now in the win column for tax reform that will return more of Alaskans’ earnings to their own pockets, will enact an Obamacare individual mandate rollback, and open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas.
Sen. Dan Sullivan has been signaling for weeks that he will vote for the tax reform package, and on CNN earlier this week he gave interviewer Wolf Blitzer his most pro-reform statement to date, calling it a comprehensive, pro-growth tax package.
“My focus continues to be on stimulating new economic growth, empowering American families with more money in their pockets (on average $200 per month) and making real reforms to our nation’s outdated and overly complicated tax code,” he said.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Wednesday ended speculation about whether she would vote for the bill with this statement:
“After thoroughly reviewing the good work of the Finance Committee, I intend to support the reconciliation legislation that is now before the Senate.
“Because the bill includes provisions originating in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Alaskans can expect to see me co-managing it with my colleagues, Budget Chairman Mike Enzi and Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch.
“The bill before us has a number of features that are very attractive to Alaskans. It lowers tax rates, doubles the child tax credit, and provides tax relief for many families by doubling the standard deduction. It promotes economic growth, employment, and investment by improving the tax code for corporations and small businesses. And it removes the tax penalty for those who do not wish to purchase health insurance that they cannot afford or that offers little value to them.
“Of course, the bill also includes a title that I am proud to have written, to open a small portion of the non-wilderness 1002 Area in ANWR in northeast Alaska to responsible energy production.
“We still have work to do on this legislation and I look forward to the debate on the Senate floor and my colleagues’ ideas to further improve it.
“Outside of the tax legislation, we must enact healthcare reforms to help stabilize the individual market. The Alexander-Murray bill helps to accomplish that, and as an original cosponsor of that effort, I will continue to encourage the President and my colleagues to act swiftly on it.”
Murkowski spoke on the Senate floor today about the value of the bill to Alaska fishing family.
“The bottom line this is a proposal that does work. It does work for Alaska families,” she said.
“I’d like to thank the members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee,” she said, who worked with her to authorize responsible energy development in the nonwilderness portion of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, providing for two lease sales to be conducted over the next 10 years, with a 50-50 split of revenues between the feds and the state from 2,200 federal acres.
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cuts taxes on all income levels.