Washington tax czar Grover Norquist is confident that Republican tax reform legislation will pass in the Senate and eventually be signed into law by President Trump.
The president of Americans for Tax Reform said “it’s going to pass. We need 50 votes plus the vice president and I checked with him, he’s OK.”
And as a result, he warned Republican senators holding out for a better deal to not dig their heels in too deep because they might get left behind.
“Two people can stand over in the corner and go, ‘I’m too cool for school. I’m a maverick,’” he said during a panel discussion Tuesday night at Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service the McCourt School of Public Policy.
“When we get to 50 we stop talking to the two guys who are over there. It’s like duck duck goose,” he said, “and somebody gets left out of the game.” Adding he said, “So two people will be left out and saying, ‘Hey I thought we were negotiating.’ And the answer is, ‘We were, but we were also negotiating with the other people and we don’t need your votes at this point.’”
Norquist checked through some of the holdouts and said that it appears Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who voted against Obamacare repeal, will be on board.
Then he turned to the two senators pushing for better rates for small business owners, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and Montana Sen. Steve Daines.
He criticized them for making late demands on the negotiators. “They should have turned their homework in on time,” he said, noting that the GOP has been talking about tax reform for years.
Norquist then said that the bills provide better rates than currently offered, and not moving on the changes would be a big letdown for some 30 million Americans and voters.
“What we have is awful. The bill, House and Senate, is much better. What they want is much, much better. But to kill better because you didn’t get much better leaves you with the worst possible thing. No one going to thank them when they walk down Main Street in any of the towns in their states. The pizzaria will throw stuff at them if they are the guys who got in the way,” said Norquist.
He concluded by again predicting victory, even if it's a close one in which some senators decide to throw a "hissy fit and stomping off."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org