Senate Republicans halted their effort to advance the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Tuesday afternoon to allow time for a revamp of the bill, one that will include repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate and make other changes to ensure that the legislation doesn't run afoul of the upper chamber's rules.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, recessed the panel, promising an amended bill later Tuesday, although he did not say when it might come. The panel is set to reconvene Wednesday morning to begin working on the altered bill.
The biggest change will be adding the repeal of the healthcare law's individual mandate, which requires people to buy insurance or pay a penalty. Republicans declined to say what other changes were in store.
But more revenue-raisers will be necessary to ensure that the tax cut does not add to deficits, on paper, beyond the 10th year. If it does, it would conflict with the rules that allow the legislation to pass with just 51 votes in the Senate.
Repealing the mandate would raise about $300 billion in the first 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But it would not be sufficient to ensure that the bill didn't add to the deficit in the out years, said Sen. Bill Cassidy, a member of the committee.
"Will this take care of everything after the year 10? The answer is no,” the Louisiana Republican said.
Meanwhile, Democrats loudly objected to Republicans' plans to make major changes to the bill halfway through the scheduled markup.
"This major tax bill is now officially a moving target," said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the committee.
Republicans aim to advance the legislation from committee this week to have it on track for a post-Thanksgiving vote in the full Senate.